Status of zinc nutrition in Bangladesh: the underlying associations

Type Journal Article - Journal of nutritional science
Title Status of zinc nutrition in Bangladesh: the underlying associations
Volume 5
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Bangladesh is a country with a high burden of micronutrient malnutrition. Stunting affects 41 % of children aged under 5 years. Zn is one of the key
micronutrients that is associated with stunting. The present study, as part of the national micronutrient survey 2011–2012, revealed for the first time
the nationally representative prevalence of Zn deficiency and determined the associations of the condition. A cross-sectional ‘nationwide’ survey was conducted
in pre-school-age children (6–59 months; PSAC) and non-pregnant non-lactating women (15–49 years; NPNLW). Multistage random sampling was
done in 150 clusters; fifty in each of the rural, urban and slum strata. Data were analysed on 662 PSAC and 1073 NPNLW. Serum Zn was assayed by
atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Zn deficiency was defined as serum Zn of <9·9 and <10·1 µmol/l in PSAC and NPNLW, respectively. The national
prevalence of Zn deficiency was 44·6 and 57·3 % in PSAC and NPNLW, respectively. In PSAC, it was 29·5, 48·6 and 51·7 %, respectively, in urban, rural
and slum strata. Household expenses (β = 0·13; P = 0·007), Hb (β = 0·10; P = 0·005), intake of animal-source Zn (β = 0·096; P = 0·02) and asset score
(β = 0·11; P = 0·03) were positively associated with serum Zn in NPNLW. Residence in an urban area (β = 0·33; P = 0·03) and intake of plant-origin
Zn (β = −0·13; P = 0·038) determined higher and lower status of Zn in PSAC, respectively. Zn deficiency was highly prevalent in Bangladesh, and
it was principally related to inadequate quality of diet. To improve Zn nutrition, Bangladesh needs to strengthen research and programmes related to
Zn biofortification, fortification and phytate-reducing technologies in the food system in the short and medium term. In addition, promotion of
animal-source Zn for all is important in the long run.

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