Study Title:

Zinc deficiency in the pediatric age group is common but underevaluated

Study Abstract

Background: Subclinical micronutrient deficiencies have been gradually becoming more important as a public health problem and drawing attention of the health authorities. Today it has been known that detecting and treating people having deficiency symptoms alone is no longer sufficient. It is important to detect and prevent any deficiency before it displays clinical manifestations. Zinc deficiency is one of the most widespread micronutrient deficiencies. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the zinc status and the associated factors in healthy school-age children.

Methods: The study was carried out in schools in Altindag, the district of Ankara. A total of 1063 healthy children, 585 girls and 478 boys, aged 5-16 years were included in the study. Serum zinc, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels and white blood cell count were measured. A serum zinc level <65 μg/dL was considered as subclinical zinc deficiency for children <10 years of age. For children ≥10 years of age the cutoffs for serum zinc concentration were set at 66 μg/dL for females and 70 μg/dL for males. A questionnaire was developed to collect socioeconomic and demographic information of the participants.

Results: The prevalence of subclinical zinc deficiency in children attending the study was detected to be 27.8%. This high ratio showed zinc deficiency was an important health problem in the Altindag district of Ankara, Turkey.

Conclusions: Evaluating the indicators of zinc deficiency such as serum zinc concentration, dietary zinc intake and stunting prevalence, this study is the most comprehensive epidemiological study performed in children in Turkey. This study reveals the high prevalence of subclinical zinc deficiency and indicates that zinc deficiency is a public health concern for the study population.

Study Information

World J Pediatr . 2017 Aug;13(4):360-366. doi: 10.1007/s12519-017-0007-8. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

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