Micronutrient deficiencies are of growing public health concern. An understanding of how micronutrient deficiencies affect health and measures that can be taken to improve micronutrient status are essential to improve population health. The main purpose of the 2018 Irish Section Meeting ‘Targeted approaches to tackling current nutritional issues’ was to provide an overview of current issues in relation to micronutrient status at various stages of the lifecycle. Novel biomarkers of nutrient status, global strategies to improve micronutrient status and implications for policy were also considered. The papers presented demonstrated recent advancements in this field and highlighted areas that warrant priority at the public health level, on both a national and global scale. Novel methods and biomarkers are being developed that will enhance the assessment of micronutrient status in specific population groups. It is evident that mild-to-moderate deficiency, or low status (in the absence of deficiency), of some micronutrients have important ramifications for public health that should be considered alongside the implications of severe deficiency. It is imperative that policy makers, public health workers and scientists work together to ensure that sustainable programmes are implemented to address micronutrient deficiencies at the population level.