Serum zinc level and its effect on anthropometric measurements in 7-11 year-old children with different socioeconomic backgrounds
This study was performed in order to determine the serum zinc (Zn) level of primary school students, to show the effect of socioeconomic status (SES) on the zinc level, and finally to show the effect of zinc deficiency on the anthropometric parameters. Ten different primary schools were included in the study according to SES. Four-mL venous blood samples were obtained under fasting conditions using disposable plastic syringes. Four hundred thirty-two randomly chosen students between 7 and 11 years of age were investigated. All the children were living in Sivas, a city located in the middle eastern part of Turkey. Serum Zn level was measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (Hitachi 2-800). The weight and height of each child was recorded. The SES of children included in this study was as follows: 43.1% low (n = 186), 34.3% middle (n = 148), and 22.7% high (n = 98). Mean serum Zn levels of low and middle SES subjects were 56.3 +/- 17.50 mug/dL and 86.6 +/- 26.8 mug/dL respectively, while in children with high SES the mean serum Zn was 110.7 +/- 24.50 mug/dL. The difference between the groups was found to be statistically significant (F = 19.545, p < 0.05). When height-for-age z-scores were calculated according to SES, 105 of 186 children (56.4%) with low SES were found to have a z-score of -2 or lower and 14 of 147 children with middle SES had a z-score of -2 or lower. None of the children in the high SES group had a z-score of -2 or lower.