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Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency in Elementary School Children of South Khorasan Province (East Iran)

Author(s): Azita Fesharakinia | Asghar Zarban | Gholam-Reza Sharifzadeh

Journal: Iranian Journal of Pediatrics
ISSN 2008-2142

Volume: 19;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 249;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Zinc deficiency | Elementary school children | Prevalence | Growth | Iran

Objective: Zinc deficiency is common in developing countries and can affect growth of children. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of zinc deficiency and its effect on growth in elementary school children of South Khorasan province. Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out on 908 9-11 year-old school children of South Khorasan province (East Iran) from October to December 2007. The subjects were chosen by multi-stage cluster random sampling method from urban and rural areas. Anthropometric measurements were made following standard techniques. Children were considered Stunting, underweight and wasting as height-for-age and weight-for-age and weight-for-height Z-score below or equal -2 standard deviation using the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reference population. Serum zinc level was measured by atomic absorption spectrometry. Statistical analysis was performed by the SPSS statistical package using t-test, Chi-square and ANOVA. Findings: Totally, 474 subjects (52.2%) were girls and 697 subjects (76.8%) resided in city. The prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting was 13.2%, 6.8% and 5.5%, respectively. The mean value of zinc plasma level was 87.7 (±32.7) μg/dl; it was significantly higher in girls and in urban areas. There were no significant differences in mean serum zinc in school children with normal growth and subjects that were stunted, underweight or wasted. The prevalence of zinc deficiency was 28.1% and it was significantly higher in rural areas. The prevalence of zinc-deficiency was significantly higher in stunted school children than non-stunted children. Conclusion: Zinc deficiency is common in elementary school children of South Khorasan province, so searching studies for underlying factors of zinc deficiency and supplementation of zinc, especially in stunted students is recommended.
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