Iron deficiency has many consequences including anemia which has been associated with an increased risk of both maternal and perinatal mortality while folate deficiency during pregnancy can results in neural tube defects.
Additionally, iron-deficient school-aged children and adolescents have been shown to have lower standardised math scores.
Fortifying flour with both iron and folic acid are solutions in overcoming these nutritional deficiencies for children and women. In Malaysia, the 2003 Adult Nutrition Survey revealed 90 per cent of urban adults and 75.3 per cent of rural adults consumed at least a portion of cereal flour foods.
In collaboration with the Economic Planning Unit, the Ministries of Health as well as Trade and Consumer Affairs and UNICEF, the Flour Fortification Initiative seeks to introduce a policy to ensure that wheat flour processed in Malaysia is mandatorily fortified with iodine and folate acid to ensure healthy women and children.
UNICEF in Action - Nutrition