|ZINC ESSENTIAL FOR GROWTH|
NEW evidence from Ethiopia suggests that a zinc deficiency plays a large part in causing stunted growth in infants, according to a report.
A team of researchers from Ethiopia and the Netherlands studied 184 infants aged 6-12 months in the Dodota district of central Ethiopia. All of the children were free of disease and appeared healthy. except for the fact that 90 of them were abnormally small for their age.
In fact, the smaller children were on average 5 cm shorter and 1 kg lighter than their same age counterparts. The 90 stunted infants and the 94 normal length infants were each divided into two groups.
Half the stunted infants and half the normal infants received a 10-mg zinc supplement six days per week for six months. The other half of each group received inactive (placebo) supplements, the researchers said in The Lancet.
Zinc supplementation had a dramatic impact on the growth rate of
stunted infants. Those taking the real zinc supplement grew an average of 7 cm during the
study while those taking the placebo grew just under 3 cm.