Cassava High in Iron and Zinc Could Improve Diets and Health in West Africa
Karla Roeber, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Media Relations
In Nigeria, 75 percent of preschool children and 67 percent of pregnant women are anemic, and 20 percent of children below five years suffer from zinc deficiency. Iron deficiency anemia affects the immune system, stunts growth and impairs cognitive development in children, while deficiency in zinc causes increased risk of death from diarrhea, stunting and reduced cognitive development. Developing new varieties of a staple food crop with elevated levels of these two minerals could significantly improve diets and health.