The present study was conducted to assess the magnitude of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in population attending the Khyber Teaching hospital Peshawar. A cross sectional study was carried out of a total of 1200 subjects of different age groups from different socio economic groups. Dry cell torch, ophthalmoscope and Snell’s chart were used to examine eye. A pretested questionnaire was used to assess the dietary history, anthropometric measurements, socio-economic status, area of residence and history of any chronic illness.
The results indicated that 22 subjects were suffering from VAD out of 1200 subjects and were having mild to severe clinical signs to this effect. Out of these 22 subjects, six cases were found in 600 normal subjects and 16 cases in 600 ill patients. The prevalence of vitamin A was found more in subjects having chronic illness like persistent diarrhea. Keratomalacia. Labor class in urban areas was more affected than any other studied class. The Vitamin A deficiency was not observed among affluent subjects. Females were more affected than the males. Farmers were affected to lesser extent than other groups. The deficiency was more common in age group 1-5 years, 5-15 years and 60 and above. The prevalence was more in bottle fed as compared to breast fed infants.
On the average 90% of the females and 70% of the males were using Vitamin A animal rich food (eggs, liver, whole milk, chicken meat) less than the recommended frequency (<4 days/ week, According to HKI food frequency questionnaire to measure community risk assessment of Vitamin A Deficiency). Similarly, 90% of the farmers and 95% of labor class were using Vitamin A animal rich food less than the recommended frequency (<4 days/ week). While the frequency of consuming Vitamin A animal rich foods according to the recommended allowance (>4 days/ week) in upper class was 70%.
On the whole, clinically there is a marginal deficiency of Vitamin A in the studied population, especially in labor class who are not using sufficient Vitamin A containing food and food products because of ignorance and poverty.