One thing unites us no matter where we live or how much money we make, and that's a desire to be both happy and healthy.
What's cool about that is, no matter your age, background, or the region where we reside, we all need many of the same vitamins. And how exciting is it knowing you can do your part to make sure others — and you — get what we need to reach optimum health?
Click on any of the photos above to learn about the unique vitamin needs of boys, girls, women, and men all over the world. Though they may differ, we can each learn how we can work toward our individual and common goal of living happy and healthy lives.
This adorable 7-year-old lives in Howrah, India with her single mother Rubia, who hopes Shundori will grow up to be a teacher one day.
Rubia — who suffers from severe diabetes — turned to begging for money after her husband left her once she became ill. Many of the families in urban areas such as Howrah lack jobs and money, making it difficult to afford nutritious meals. Consequently, many must buy the cheapest food, which is often high in calories and low in nutrients.
A report by UNICEF says under-nutrition contributes to nearly one-third of children's deaths in India. Surviving children could potentially face recurring illnesses, faltering growth, and/or damage to their cognitive development, and are also more likely to suffer infection and die from such childhood illnesses as diarrhea, the measles, pneumonia, and malaria.
Rubia, however, received a biannual, high dose of vitamin A for Shundori from Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit that distributes vitamins and minerals to children and mothers in need. Rubia is happy to report that ever since her daughter first received the vitamin A, her health and strength significantly improved, as she no longer needs the supplements.
"Now that we have received medication, I hope Shundori doesn't need to worry about her health anymore and will receive an education," her mother told Vitamin Angels.
According to UNICEF, 20 percent of children in India suffer from acute undernutrition, which can cause a deficiency in vitamins such as A and many others.
It was important for Shundori as she got older to have access to critical nutrients, like vitamin A, because they have many health benefits.
Vitamin A is a crucial to the immune system.
A sufficient amount of vitamin A is vital to eye, skin, teeth, and bone health, and according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A for a child Shundori's age is 400 micrograms (mcg) — which the general population might find in half a cup of carrots or a slice of pumpkin pie — but malnourished children such as Shundori are often given a high dose of vitamin A, like the ones provided by Vitamin Angels, twice annually.
Though this fat-soluble vitamin can be found in many food sources, such as tuna, beef liver, and dairy products, these products are often too expensive for families in developing countries such as India.
Shundori is not the only person who needs vitamin A, however. Three-year-old Metrin from Uganda and 34-year-old Ryan from New York need it, too. Click on their photos below, highlighted in blue, to learn more about their story or explore the rest of the profiles.
Want to help people around the world get access to vitamins? For every purchase of vitamins and minerals at Walgreens, they will make a donation to Vitamin Angels.
Statements about vitamin deficiencies, the benefits of vitamin A and recommended doses are not endorsed by or representative of opinions from Vitamin Angels.
Vitamin Angels Photos © Matt Dayka/Vitamin Angels