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About Micronutrients

Key points

  • Vitamins and minerals, called micronutrients, are critical for healthy development, disease prevention, and well-being.
  • Infants, children, adolescent girls, women of reproductive age, and pregnant women are the most likely groups to have deficiencies.
  • CDC is working in the United States around the world to improve micronutrient intake.
Woman and child cutting fruit.

The problem

Micronutrient deficiencies can have significant consequences on our health and well-being, yet:

  • Approximately 1 in 4 US women have iron deficiency during pregnancy.
  • Approximately 1 in 8 US women ages 12 to 49 have iron deficiency.
  • Globally more than half of children younger than 5 suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Learn More ‎

You can learn more about the 6 essential micronutrients and their roles in healthy development, disease prevention, and well-being.

What CDC is doing

Through the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), CDC works in the United States and around the world to:

  • Identify and monitor iodine, iron, and anemia levels among groups at risk for deficiencies.
  • Provide practical strategies for feeding healthy foods and drinks to infants and toddlers.
  • Work with partners to engage pediatricians in advising on the importance of good nutrition practices for young children.
  • Help countries:
    • Develop national-level nutrition surveillance systems and national micronutrient surveys.
    • Design, monitor, and evaluate interventions such as mass food fortification, home fortification, and micronutrient supplementation.
    • Build laboratory capacity for vitamin and mineral biomarker monitoring. This is in collaboration with the Nutritional Biomarkers Branch in CDC's Division of Laboratory Sciences.
  • Work with global partners to develop guidelines on vitamin and mineral interventions as well as the assessment of anemia and micronutrient status.

By the numbers

Since 2000, DNPAO has provided technical assistance to more than 60 countries.

DNPAO's ongoing and new surveillance efforts will help fill data gaps in the United States and around the world. Countries use this information to inform, develop, monitor, and evaluate policies and programs, especially for women, infants, young children, and adolescents.