A1. Iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) are important components of a healthy diet. These nutrients are necessary for the production of the red blood cells in the body that transport oxygen to the tissues. Deficiency of any of these nutrients can lead to anemia, a condition that causes weakness, tiredness and shortness of breath.

In a study of the Piaroa, a population living in a remote area of Venezuela, investigators discovered very high levels of anemia, especially amongst young children and females of childbearing age. The table below shows the incidence of anemia and deficiencies of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 in this population, as a percentage.

(a) Identify the nutrient that is least likely to be deficient in a 45-year-old male in the Piaroa population.

(b) Identify the age and sex of the group that suffers from the least amount of anemia in the Piaroa population. 

(c) Compare the data for the three nutrients in 11–20-year-old females with the data for 11–20-year-old males. 

(d) The data in the table indicates differences in the incidence of anemia between males and females. Suggest possible causes of these differences.


A2. (a) Outline the importance of fibre as a component of a balanced diet.

(b) Distinguish between minerals and vitamins. 

(c) Explain how diet can reduce the consequences of phenylketonuria (PKU).


A3. (a) Distinguish between the composition of human milk and artificial milk used for bottle-feeding babies.

(b) Explain the benefits of breastfeeding.




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