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Vitamin A Deficiency in the Philippines: A Study of Xerophthalmia in Cebu


Solon, Florentino S.; Popkin, Barry M.; Fernandez, Thomas L.; & Latham, Michael C. (1978). Vitamin A Deficiency in the Philippines: A Study of Xerophthalmia in Cebu. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 31(2), 360-368.


An investigation of xerophthalmia was undertaken in four ecological zones in Cebu in the Philippines. One thousand seven hundred fifteen children aged 1 to 16 years were examined in 12 barrios. Clinical, biochemical and anthropometric data were collected from the children. Dietary and socioeconomic information was obtained from the households. Multivariate statistical techniques were used to examine factors possibly associated with xerophthalmia. Of children 47% had deficient or low serum vitamin A levels and 4.5% had clinical signs of xerophthalmia. Approximately 2% had both low serum vitamin A levels and clinical eye signs and were then defined as having active xerophthalmia. Vitamin A deficiency was more prevalent in males than females. Xerophthalmia was most common in the 4 to 6 year old age group. Diarrhea, roundworm infestation and measles were not positively correlated with xerophthalmia but whooping cough and tuberculosis were. Low intakes of carotene and vitamin A were associated with xerophthalmia but protein and fat intakes were not. A higher incidence of xerophthalmia occurred in children of working than nonworking mothers. Data on home production and use of vegetables and fruits are presented. The results of this study are being used to introduce three alternate intervention strategies to control xerophthalmia.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Solon, Florentino S.
Popkin, Barry M.
Fernandez, Thomas L.
Latham, Michael C.