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Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2011 Jan;13(1):4-8. Epub 2011 Jan 1.

Prevalence of zinc deficiency in 3-18 years old children in shiraz-iran.

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  • 1Gastroenterohepatology Research Center, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Nemazee Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.



Zinc is an essential trace element with a prominent role in human nutrition. Zinc deficiency has been linked to growth retardation, hypogonadism in males, and lack of sexual development in females. It ranges from 50% in sub-Saharan Africa to 5% in high income countries. The aim of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of zinc deficiency in healthy children in Shiraz, southern Iran.


In this study, 902 children aged 3-18 years old were randomly sampled for serum zinc level. Age, sex, weight, height, BMI, stunting and wasting indices were also recorded. With atomic absorption spectrophotometry method, the serum level of zinc less than 70 µg/dL was considered as deficient.


Mean serum level of zinc was 122.3±55 µg/dL. The prevalence of zinc deficiency was 7.9%. There was no relationship among serum zinc level and age, sex, height, weight or BMI, but mild wasting (weight for age) and mild stunting (height for age) were significantly more prevalent among zinc deficient children compared to children with normal or high level of zinc.


Zinc deficiency in Shiraz is not as prevalent as other areas of Iran. It was significantly more frequent among stunted and wasted (malnourished) children. Difference in soil zinc level, recent wide prescription of zinc supplements by pediatricians and especial pattern of nutrition, considered as possible factors responsible for lower prevalence of zinc deficiency in Shiraz, deserve more investigations.


Children; Deficiency; Iran; Malnutrition; Zinc

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