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Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Nov;60(5):782-92.

Relation of maternal zinc nutriture to pregnancy outcome and infant development in an Egyptian village.

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  • 1Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1264.


Zinc nutriture of women living in a periurban Egyptian village was examined over the last 6 mo of pregnancy and the first 6 mo of lactation as one of several potential determinants of pregnancy outcome and infant development. Estimated bioavailable zinc intake was approximately 2 mg/d from diets high in phytate and fiber. Among numerous variables analyzed by multiple regression, early pregnancy weight (3 mo) and plasma zinc concentrations in the second trimester formed the best predictor model of birth weight, accounting for 39% of the variance. Bioavailable zinc intake during pregnancy was part of a profile of micronutrient intakes related to neonatal habituation behavior, a measure of early information processing. Performance on the Bayley motor test at 6 mo of age was negatively related to maternal intakes of plant zinc, phytate, and fiber, suggesting that zinc bioavailability was involved. Maternal dietary intake explained most of the variance observed in infant motor performance; however, predictive variance was amplified by the psychosocial context.

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