Introduction

Knowledge of the occurrence of zinc deficiency and its importance to human health has increased greatly in recent years. Available evidence indicates that zinc deficiency is an important contributing factor to impaired growth and development, morbidity, and mortality among children in underprivileged settings. Presently, there are few estimates of the prevalence of zinc deficiency in developing countries based on dietary intake or biochemical indices. However, national level estimates of the adequacy of zinc in the food supply and the prevalence of childhood growth stunting can be used to inform on the relative risk of zinc deficiency among countries. National programs to improve zinc status through either supplementation or food fortification are just being initiated.

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