Prevalence of zinc deficiency in healthy 1–3-year-old children from three western european countries

Mirjam Vreugdenhil*, Marjolijn D. Akkermans, Liandré F. van der Merwe, Ruurd M. van Elburg, Johannes B. van Goudoever, Frank Brus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Zinc deficiency (ZnD) has adverse health consequences such as stunted growth. Since young children have an increased risk of developing ZnD, it is important to determine its prevalence and associated factors in this population. However, only a few studies have reported on ZnD prevalence in young children from Western high-income countries. This study evaluated ZnD prevalence and associated factors, including dietary Zn intake, in healthy 1–3-year-old children from Western European, high-income countries. ZnD was defined as serum Zn concentration <9.9 µmol/L. A total of 278 children were included with a median age of 1.7 years (Q1–Q3: 1.2–2.3). The median Zn concentration was 11.0 µmol/L (Q1–Q3: 9.0–12.2), and ZnD prevalence was 31.3%. No significant differences were observed in the socio-economic characteristics between children with and without ZnD. Dietary Zn intake was not associated with ZnD. ZnD is common in healthy 1–3-year-old children from Western European countries. However, the use of currently available cut-off values defining ZnD in young children has its limitations since these are largely based on reference values in older children. Moreover, these values were not evaluated in relation to health consequences, warranting further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3713
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

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