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Micronutrient intake decreased during Indonesia's financial crisis, leading to higher rates of anaemia

Poor women and children are especially susceptible to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. During economic crises, their vulnerability is much greater. Higher food prices and lower incomes usually force them to reduce their intake of foods that are high in micronutrient content.

 MI. Children in Indonesia. During the country's financial crisis in the 1990's, families decreased their consumption of foods rich in vitamins and minerals.

A study of how the Indonesia financial crisis of the late 1990s affected micronutrient consumption confirmed this. The authors found that, among the poor, household consumption of eggs and dark leafy vegetables (both important sources of micronutrients) fell significantly. This reduction in consumption of quality foods between December 1996 and July 1998 (approximately the peak crisis period) resulted in increased prevalence of anaemia for both mothers and children. In fact, the study found that anaemia rates among children increased from 52 to 68% during the period. The effects were particularly severe for children conceived during and immediately prior to the crisis.

With compelling evidence that adult labour productivity lost as a result of childhood iron-deficiency anaemia can lead to significant losses in gross domestic product (GDP), the long-term effects of such consequences of financial crises are staggering.