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Ann Saudi Med. 2002 Sep-Nov;22(5-6):291-4.

Zinc and copper status in children with high family risk of premature cardiovascular disease.

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Department of Pediatrics, Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.



Zinc and copper are beneficial to health, growth and development, and also for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) with regards to improved dietary habits as a preliminary step in CVD prevention. This study was conducted among 2-18-year-old children with high family risk of premature CVD in comparison to controls.


One hundred randomly selected children whose parents had premature myocardial infarction were included in the study. The controls were 100 individuals randomly selected from the case group's neighbors and matched for age, sex, and socioeconomic status. A four-day food record questionnaire was used to assess zinc and copper intakes, and their serum levels were determined using Flame-Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry. The data were analyzed by SPSS/Windows V6 software, using the Student's t and Mantel-Hanzel tests. Significance of differences was considered at P<0.05.


The daily zinc intake was significantly lower in the case than control group (6.89+/-2.97 vs. 8.30+/-2.45 mg, P=0.047). The mean serum zinc level was not significantly different between both groups (82.12+/-14.1 vs. 92.26+/-23.7 microg/dL, P>0.05). Zinc deficiency was more prevalent among the case in boys than their controls (58% vs. 18%, P=0.04). This difference was not significantly in girls (44% vs. 40%). The daily intake and serum level of copper were not significantly different between the case and control groups. No case of copper deficiency was found. The mean systolic blood pressure was not significantly different between the zinc-deficient and zinc-sufficient subjects. Although the mean diastolic blood pressure of the former was higher than the latter, there was no statistically significant difference. About 23.7% of all studied sample had mild-to-moderate degrees of failure to thrive, with significantly lower daily intake and serum zinc level than other subjects (5.14+/-1.06 mg, 82.09+/-12.74 microg/dL vs. 6.89+/-2.14 mg, 99.25+/-27.15 microg/dL, respectively, P<0.05).


It is recommended that emphasis be placed on the consumption of food rich in zinc by children, especially those with high family risk of premature CVD.

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