Micronutrient deficiencies are a significant cause of illness and premature death throughout the world. This is particularly true in the developing world, where nearly 20% of the population suffers from iodine deficiency, about 25% of children have sub-clinical vitamin A deficiency, and 40-60% suffer from anemia. The global prevalence of individuals with iron deficiency and anemia which was estimated to be 1 billion in 1990 is now in the range of 1.4 billion.
Micronutrient deficiencies also lead to impaired growth and cognitive development, birth defects, cretinism, and blindness, as well as decreased school and work performance and poor general health. There is evidence that iron deficiency anemia was ranked as the second highest priority, after HIV/AIDS.The overarching nature of the problem was described at the Copenhagen Consensus (2004) led by top international economists who prioritized interventions to advance the lives of people living in developing countries. Controlling micronutrient deficiencies, including