Micronutrient supplementation has been the method of choice for the treatment of severe clinical nutrient deficiencies for several decades. Prophylactic supplementation, however, gained wider acceptance only in the late 1980s with the publication of results from a randomized trial in Aceh, Indonesia, showing a 34% reduction in young-child mortality among preschoolers given vitamin A supplements. The introduction of routine vitamin A supplementation to preschool children in developing countries has encouraged this approach and the development of other micronutrient supplementation programs. Each single-nutrient or multiple-micronutrient supplementation strategy should be evaluated separately for efficacy, feasibility, safety, cost, and appropriateness for the cultural and political context in which it will be implemented.
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