Antioxidant micronutrients as intersectoral link between health and agriculture
Environmental and ecological disorders and the attendant health problems
especially cancer and heart diseases are a major concern currently. Although cancer is perhaps the most feared and best known of the chronic pathologic effects of environmental pollution, it should be recognized that environmental agents especially heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, may also cause behavioural abnormality which can lead to increase in crime rate. Antioxidant micronutrients are protective against these dreaded disorders. Environmental problems extend beyond the boundaries of the traditional confines of the health sector. It also affects the agricultural sector and this sector may also have an ameliorative influence on the degree of environmental and ecological disorders. This report emphases the need for the two major sectors, health and agriculture
to evolve ways of checking the deleterious effects. Increase consumption of antioxidant micronutrients available in fruit and vegetables namely vitamins A, B, C, and E, β-carotene and selenium should be consistently recommended by the health sector to reduce the toxic effects of environmental pollutants. This report draws attention to environmental and ecological disorders and emphasizes the needs not to treat them in isolation but that they are inseparable. These disorders will be examined in conceptual and programmatic terms. Intersectoral collaboration between the agricultural and health sectors appears desirable by helping to prevent disease, promoting health and improving the quality of life by means of antioxidant micronutrients. The role of the agricultural sector in this regard should be to increase the production of these crops to make them readily available at low cost in Nigeria. This intersectoral collaboration is required for sustainable development of which health should be a goal (Afr. J. Biomed. Res. 9:1 – 10, January 2006)
Keywords: Agriculture, Antioxidant Micronutrients, Ecology, Environment, Cancer,Crime rate, Health.