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Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
Year: 2007  |  Volume: 6  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 349 - 354

Serum Zinc and Copper Levels in Malnourished Pre-School Age Children in Jos, North Central Nigeria

E.I. Ugwuja, K. O. Nwosu, N. C. Ugwu and M. Okonji    

Abstract: Serum zinc and copper were determined in thirty (30) malnourished pre-school-age children (age, 0-60 months) and thirty (30) age-and sex-matched apparently healthy well nourished controls to evaluate the effect of protein-energy malnutrition on serum zinc and copper. Mean serum zinc and copper were significantly reduced (p<0.05) in malnourished than in well-nourished children. While serum total protein was significantly lower (p<0.05) in malnourished than the controls, and comparable (p>0.05) among kwashiorkor and marasmus, serum albumin was significantly lower (p<0.05) in kwashiorkor than in marasmus. Mean haemoglobin concentration was significantly (p<0.05) lower in malnourished than in the controls while total white blood cell count (TWBC) did not differ significantly (P>0.05). This study shows that malnourished children have deficient serum zinc and copper with anaemia and leucopenia. For effective management of protein-energy malnutrition, zinc and copper supplementation should be part of treatment regimen, however, in order to prevent zinc and copper deficiency and its health implications in pre-school age children, food fortification should be promoted.

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