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Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Aug;68(2 Suppl):470S-475S.

Effects of repletion with zinc and other micronutrients on neuropsychologic performance and growth of Chinese children.

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The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston 77555-1109, USA.


The knowledge that zinc is essential for growth and neuropsychologic performance and a report of zinc-responsive stunting in Chinese children prompted this project. This article summarizes findings from a 10-wk, double-blind, controlled trial of zinc repletion in 740 urban, 6-9-y-old first graders from low-income families in Chongqing, Qingdao, and Shanghai, People's Republic of China. Treatments were 20 mg Zn alone (Z), 20 mg Zn with micronutrients (ZM), and micronutrients alone (M). The M mixture was based on National Research Council guidelines. Nutrients that might interfere with zinc retention were excluded or given in lower amounts. Main outcomes were changes in neuropsychologic performance and knee height. Hemoglobin, serum ferritin, plasma and hair zinc, and whole blood and hair lead were also measured. Anemia was not common, and serum ferritin concentrations were usually within the range of normal. Mean baseline plasma zinc concentrations were marginal in children from Chongqing and Qingdao and normal in children from Shanghai. After treatment with ZM or M plasma zinc increased. Hair zinc tended to decrease after all treatments. Mean baseline whole blood lead concentrations were slightly below the limit considered excessive for children by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Neuropsychologic performance and growth were most improved after treatment with ZM. These findings were consistent with the presence of zinc and other micronutrient deficiencies.

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