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EARTH TIMES. 1996 Oct 16-31; 9(18):8.Vitamin A, iodine, and iron are widespread, cheap, available, and needed in small quantities by the human body in order to remain healthy. Many people, however, especially women and children, do not consume adequate quantities of these micronutrients. Indeed, vitamin deficiency affects more than 200 million children worldwide, and a lack of vitamin A supplementation could be the cause of 1-3 million child deaths per year. The problem remains particularly serious in 76 countries. Vitamin A affects vision and the immune system such that deficiency can cause blindness, delay recovery from diarrhea, and cause an episode of measles to be more severe. Vitamin A deficiency is more likely to be found in arid regions, among the poor, and in areas without a historical pattern of eating vitamin A-rich foods. Supplementation readily corrects the problem. The author notes that the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has helped make countries aware of the problem of micronutrient deficiencies.