Estimation of zinc levels among children with malnutrition at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Northwestern Nigeria

  • Asma'u Adamu
  • Mohammed N. Jiya
  • Hamidu Ahmed
  • Paul K. Ibitoye
  • Modupe O. Ugege
  • Usman M. Sani
  • Tahir Yusuf
  • Fatima B. Jiya
  • Khadijat O. Isezuo
Keywords: zinc, malnutrition, Sokoto


Objective: Zinc plays a critical role in many body functions and its deficiency is associated with impaired cognitive function, behavioral problems, memory impairment, growth retardation, increased incidence of diarrhoea and recurrent infections. Although severe zinc deficiency is not common, mild to moderate deficiency is quite common globally. It is estimated that some form of zinc deficiency affects about one third of the world population, with estimates ranging from 4% to 73% across sub Saharan Africa. To determine the prevalence of zinc deficiency among malnourished children at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH), Sokoto.

Methods: Study was descriptive cross-sectional, carried out at the Paediatric department of UDUTH, Sokoto from April 2013 to June 2014. It was conducted among children aged between 6 and 60 months who presented to the OPD and those that were admitted into paediatric wards of UDUTH with malnutrition. Children with similar characteristics that were well nourished served as controls. Cohorts were recruited consecutively until the required sample size was obtained. 5mls of venous blood was taken for serum zinc analysis from each child.

Results: A total of 550 children were studied with 275 apiece for cohorts. The mean age of the malnourished children was 26.2±14.6 months compared to 28.2±17.0 months recorded for the controls (p=0.157).The mean serum zinc levels for the study subjects 13.5±3.3μmol/Lwas significantly lower than that of the controls (15.8±1.9μmol/L) (t=9.42, df=548, p=0.0001).

Conclusion: The prevalence of zinc deficiency among both malnourished children and the controls was 0% using WHO reference value for children below the age of 5 years. Prophylactic doses of zinc should be given in all malnourish children in situation where mineral mix is not added to feed or f75 and f100 are not available. There is need to adhere to and use recommended cut off values recommended by WHO for defining zinc deficiency by researchers.

Keywords: zinc, malnutrition, Sokoto

Original Article

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2467-8252
print ISSN: 2360-7793