Serum retinol concentrations for determining the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in populations

World Health Organization

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 5
Publication date: 2011
Languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
WHO reference number: WHO/NMH/NHD/MNM/11.3



This document aims to provide users of the Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System (VMNIS) with information about the use of serum retinol for assessing the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in populations. It is a compilation of the current World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on the topic and summarizes, from the three documents described below, the cut-offs for defining vitamin A deficiency and its severity at the population level, and the chronology of their establishment.

The cut-offs included in this summary are essential for identifying populations most at risk of deficiency and in need of intervention. Assessment of serum retinol permits both the monitoring of trends of vitamin A deficiency as well as the evaluation of the impact of interventions. Such assessments allow for the measurement of progress towards international goals of micronutrient deficiency control.