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.
As you can probably tell by her tummy bump in the photo above, 28-year-old Stine is a Norwegian woman currently expecting a child. This new baby will be a little sibling to Stine's 3-year-old son Linus.
"In both my pregnancies, I totally lost the need to eat sweets," Stine tells A Plus. "My body is craving the green stuff like avocados and salad. Really boring," she laughs. "Now, I am in desperate need of everything I am not allowed to eat, like blue cheese."
Stine knows that even more important than her cravings is making sure her unborn child is getting the right nutrition. To remain healthy during her pregnancy, Stine explains she's taking a "normal mix" of prenatal vitamins that include folic acid and iron that was recommended by her doctor.
Folic acid is important for the production of extra red blood cells needed during pregnancy. This helps the baby's development.
According to the Office on Women's Health, getting enough folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly. Given that there are more than 300,000 neural tube defects worldwide every year, it's especially important for women around the globe to have access to folic acid.
While prenatal vitamins with folic acid supplements are easily accessible in countries such as Norway, that is not the case in many parts of the developing world.
As many as 150,000 to 210,000 cases of neural tube defects could potentially be prevented by expanding folic acid fortification, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Taking folic acid is most crucial at the earliest stages of pregnancy, which can be before mothers-to-be even know they are expecting. For this reason, organizations such as the March of Dimes suggest that women who plan to get pregnant also take folic acid.
Though it is most commonly consumed as a supplement, a single serving of some breakfast cereals such as General Mills Wheat Chex or Kellogg's All Bran Original, can contain the recommended daily dose of at least 400 micrograms (mcg). This is great for moms like Stine since cereal is so easy to get.
"I do believe in listening to the body and eating what you feel, but also, try to eat twice as healthy instead of twice as much," Stine says.
Stine is not the only person who needs folic acid, however. Moworke, mother to 4-month-old Arsema from Ethiopia, also needed it when she was pregnant. Click on Arsema's photo, highlighted in yellow, to find out how the two of them are connected by their vitamin need, or explore the rest of the profiles below.
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 folic acid and recommended doses are not endorsed by or representative of opinions from Vitamin Angels.
Vitamin Angels Photos © Matt Dayka/Vitamin Angels