Vitamin Angels - Engage Yourself, Be a Part of a Truly Inspiring Campaign
By Dr. Vince Ziccarelli PhD. MSc. RD ND FICN
As a doctor of natural medicine, registered nutritionist, nutrition researcher, father and most importantly, a human being - I am always thinking about ways in which we as a community may contribute to improving nutritional wellness for children globally. The global nutrition concerns are a continued reality, and it's very disheartening when we see the numbers of those children at risk for malnutrition and or severe nutrient deficiency disease.
Recent statistics show that nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are attributable to undernutrition. Undernutrition increases the risk for children dying from common infections, delays overall recovery and elevates the severity of infections. Beyond infection, poor nutrition for children may also lead to stunted growth patterns - associated with impaired cognitive health affecting school and work performance.
In 2019 it was estimated that one in five children under the age of 5 worldwide experienced stunted growth. With 47 million children under 5 experiencing wasting and severe wasting globally, whereby more than half of these children live in South Asia and a quarter in the sub-Saharan Africa area. These numbers are truly alarming and very concerning to say the least. Positive change is of utmost importance, whereby governments, business, and we, as global citizens, should engage to help make a difference for this alarming global concern.
Every ounce of support is critical for helping to overcome nutrition related disease in children. It is our human responsibility to help in whatever way we may. I know that if my children were suffering with any level of poor nutrition, every ounce of my being would be committed to ensure they are well fed. I know every parent would likely feel the exact same way. Unfortunately, in many of these high risk countries, poverty and scarcity of basic food supply is a troubling reality, they absolutely require as much global support as possible. So whenever there is a foundation that provides support for children at nutrition risk, I am honored to blow the trumpet about what they are all about. It's the least that I may do. One such organization, that has been around for decades helping children at risk for poor nutrition, is called the Vitamin Angels (vitaminangels.org), indeed a very suitable name for what they stand for.
Vitamin Angels believes that everyone deserves a chance at a healthy life. They serve the hardest to reach, the most vulnerable and often overlooked infants, children and pregnant women that live well beyond the margins. This amazing organization works with local partners and national governments to deliver nutritional resources to those in need. They serve up to 60 million children and mothers yearly in 65 countries.
An example of a local Canadian corporate partner is one of Canada's leading vitamin companies called Now Foods Canada (nowfoods.ca). Now Foods Canada has engaged in a 2021 campaign to raise funds to support the Vitamin Angels vitamin A campaign. Essentially, with the purchase of the Now vitamin D, 180 capsule size bottle, Now Foods has committed thousands of bottles - to providing 25 cents per bottle sold to the Vitamin Angels. Therefore each bottle sold will provide a bolus dose of vitamin A to help a child that is at high risk for vitamin A deficiency.
This is so important since vitamin A deficiency is highly prevalent with many nutritionally vulnerable children, which during the early stages of growth, increases their risk for infections, poor vision, blindness, stunting, and even mortality. For children, and most of us, vitamin A is considered one of the most anti-infective essential fat soluble nutrients, integral to supporting our immune functions. It is absolutely fundamental to their well being. Children need all the support they can get when it comes to immunity, particularly during the early stages of growth. Dietary sources of vitamin A includes fortified dairy foods, fortified margarine, fish, cod liver oil, and organ meats. Unfortunately, children at the highest risk simply don't have access to the majority of these food sources which ultimately leads to severe vitamin A deficiencies.
So a bolus yearly dose of vitamin A will go a long way in supporting better nutritional status for those children at the highest risk. This is very encouraging, and a practical way to contribute on a global nutrition scale. If you would like to participate with such as great cause, then why not go to your local health food store and ask them about the Now Foods Vitamin Angels campaign, or go online to nowfoods.ca to learn more about what stores are engaged in the campaign. A bottle of the Now vitamin D 180's will be a great supplement for you and your family, to help ensure that you are getting enough vitamin D, supporting your own overall nutritional health and immunity. Most of us are sub-optimally low in vitamin D to begin with, so we should be supplementing anyway, especially when our immunity requires the nutritional support. The super extra side benefit will be to contribute to a great cause, and help as many at risk children as possible. If you feel engaged in making a difference, then now is the time to take action, spread the word, and as a collective we can help make a difference.