Assessment of Zinc Status in School-Age Children from Rural Areas in China Nutrition and Health Survey 2002 and 2012

Abstract

                <p>Zinc is an essential trace element for growth and development in children, but zinc deficiency is a serious nutritional problem worldwide. Our study aimed to assess the zinc status of school-age children living in rural areas of China and to examine the change of zinc status based on the China Nutrition and Health Survey 2002 and 2012. We used the probability proportional to size sampling method for subject selection, and a total of 3407 school-age children were included in this study. Zinc status was assessed by three items of indicators recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the International Zinc Nutrition Consultative Group (IZiNCG). The concentration of serum zinc was 718.2 μg/L, and 44.4% of children being zinc deficiency in 2002, while 846.8 μg/L and 10.4% in 2012. Zinc intake was 7.8 mg/day with a 7.6% inadequate zinc intake in 2002, together with 6.9 mg/day and 38.2% in 2012. Height-for-age Z score was −1.06 and 19.1% of children being stunting in 2002, as well as −0.15 and 6.8% in 2012. In conclusion, the zinc status of school-age children living in rural areas of China has been significantly improved in addition to zinc intake over the past 10 years. However, the zinc deficiency still observed in poor rural areas of China in 2012. In addition, we suggested that the zinc bioavailability should be taken into account when assessing zinc status in population.</p><br /><br />

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