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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 16-20

Zinc status of under-five children in selected urban and rural settings in Enugu State, Nigeria

1 Department of Biochemistry, Renaissance University, Ugbawka, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Ikechukwu E Ezeagu
Food Composition Analysis & Public Health Nutrition Research Group, Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmh.IJMH_15_19

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Background: High incidence of zinc (Zn) deficiency, especially among under-five children, is widely reported in developing countries including Nigeria. Objective: The aim of this study was to provide data on the Zn status of under-five children in Enugu State. Materials and Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study of under-five children in Enugu South (urban) and Nkanu West (rural) local government areas (LGAs). A total of 409 children (244 urban and 165 rural) were enrolled in the study. Non-fasting venous blood (2 mL) was obtained from a total of 409 under-five children and the serum Zn was determined by using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Serum Zn level of < 70 µg/L was defined as Zn deficiency. Results: Although 222 (54%) of the children were adequate, 187 (46%) were deficient in Zn. Of the 165 children from the rural area, 73 (44%) were deficient in Zn, whereas in urban area, of 244 children, 112 (46%) were deficient in Zn (<70 µg/dL). The mean serum Zn level (73.86 ± 15.99 µg/dL) of the urban under-five children was significantly (P = 0.009) higher than that of the rural children (68.25 ± 9.04). In the rural setting, higher incidence of Zn deficiency occurred among the male subjects (32 [52.8%]) compared to the female subjects (35 [37.6%]) although the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.08). Conclusion: The results indicate a high incidence of Zn deficiency in the studied population, which seems higher in the rural than in the urban LGA. Nutrition educational programs, intake of food rich in Zn and supplements should be promoted to improve Zn intake especially in infant and young child feeding practices.

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