Effect of zinc supplementation between 1 and 6 mo of life on growth and morbidity of Bangladeshi infants in urban slums

Saskia J.M. Osendarp, Mathuram Santosham, Robert E. Black, M. A. Wahed, Joop M.A. Van Raaij, George J. Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Evidence for an effect of zinc supplementation on growth and morbidity in very young infants in developing countries is scarce and inconsistent. Objective: We assessed the effect of zinc supplementation on growth and morbidity in poor Bangladeshi infants aged 4-24 wk. Design: Infants from Dhaka slums were enrolled at 4 wk of age and randomly assigned to receive 5 mg elemental Zn/d (n = 152) or placebo (n = 149) until 24 wk of age. They were followed weekly for information on compliance and morbidity; anthropometric measurements were performed monthly. Serum zinc was assessed at baseline and at 24 wk of age. Results: At 24 wk of age, serum zinc concentrations were higher in the zinc than in the placebo group (13.3 ± 3.8 and 10.7 ± 2.9 μmol/L, respectively; P < 0.001). Significantly greater weight gains were observed in the zinc than in the placebo group for 43 infants who were zinc deficient (< 9.18 μmol/L) at baseline (3.15 ± 0.77 and 2.66 ± 0.80 kg, respectively; P < 0.04). In the other infants, no significant differences were observed in mean weight and length gains during the study period. Zinc-deficient infants showed a reduced risk of incidence of acute lower respiratory infection after zinc supplementation (relative risk: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.10, 0.92); among the non-zinc-deficient infants there were no significant differences between treatment groups. Conclusions: Zinc-deficient Bangladeshi infants showed improvements in growth rate and a reduced incidence of acute lower respiratory infection after zinc supplementation. In infants with serum zinc concentrations > 9.18 μmol/L, supplementation improved only biochemical zinc status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1401-1408
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume76
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • Growth
  • Infants
  • Morbidity
  • Zinc supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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