Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System (VMNIS)

Prevalence of night blindness and number of individuals affected among preschool-age children and pregnant women in populations of countries at risk of vitamin A deficiency 1995-2005, globally and by WHO region

WHO regional estimates indicate that the highest proportion of preschool-age children affected by night blindness, 2.0%, is in Africa, a value that is four times of that estimated in South-East Asia (0.5%). This also means that Africa has the greatest number of preschool-age children affected with night blindness (2.55 million), and corresponds to almost half of the children affected globally. A comparable and high proportion of pregnant women affected by night blindness are in Africa (9.8%) and South-East Asia (9.9%), each of which is estimated to have over 3 million pregnant women affected, or one third of the pregnant women affected globally.


WHO region Preschool-age childrena Pregnant women
Prevalenceb (%) Number affected
(millions)
Prevalence (%) Number affected
(millions)
Africa 2.0
(0.8-3.2)c
2.55
(0.99-4.11)
9.8
(8.4-11.1)
3.02
(2.59-3.44)
Americas 0.6
(0.0-1.3)
0.36
(0.00-0.75)
4.4
(2.7-6.2)
0.5
(0.30-0.70)
South-East Asia 0.5
(0.0-2.0)
1.01
(0.00-3.75)
9.9
(9.5-10.3)
3.84
(3.69-4.00)
Europe 0.8
(0.1-1.5)
0.24
(0.04-0.44)
3.5
(1.8-5.3)
0.22
(0.11-0.33)
Eastern Mediterranean 1.2
(0.6-1.7)
0.77
(0.41-1.12)
7.2
(5.2-9.2)
1.09
(0.78-1.39)
Western Pacific 0.2
(0.0-0.4)
0.26
(0.02-0.50)
4.8
(0.9-8.6)
1.09
(0.20-1.97)
Global 0.9
(0.3-1.5)
5.17
(1.97-8.38)
7.8
(7.0-8.7)
9.75
(8.70-10.8)

a Population subgroups: Preschool-age children (<5 years); Pregnant women (no age range defined).
b Numerator and denominator excludes countries with a 2005 GDP ≥US$ 15 000.
c 95% Confidence Intervals.

Source

WHO. Global prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in populations at risk 1995–2005. WHO Global Database on Vitamin A Deficiency. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2009.

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