Low iron counts and anemia due to iron deficiency is a widespread problem. It will bring consequences among adolescents on growth, school performance, morbidity and reproductive performance as well as national economy.
Iron deficiency also has several negative physical symptoms such as tiredness, headaches and difficulty to concentrate.
Adolescents, especially girls, are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency. The highest prevalence is between the ages of 12-15 years when requirements are at a peak.
In all Member States of the South-East Asia Region, except Thailand, more than 25% of adolescent girls are reported to be anemic; in some countries the prevalence is as high as 50%.
"Asia’s catastrophic malnutrition levels are the single greatest barrier to the evolution of a modern, knowledge-based workforce that can manage the economic powerhouse it has the promise to become."
(Sheila Sisulu, World Food Programme Deputy Executive Director)