Micronutrient status and its relationship with nutritional status in preschool children in urban Sri Lanka

Eshani Marasinghe, Sureka Chackrewarthy, Chrishantha Abeysena, Shaman Rajindrajith
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015, 24 (1): 144-51

OBJECTIVE: To assess the micronutrient status and its relationship with nutritional status in preschool children.

METHODS: In a cross sectional study, anthropometric data and fasting blood samples were obtained from 340 children attending preschool in urban Sri Lanka. Serum concentrations of vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, vitamin A, zinc and haemoglobin were measured. Z-scores of anthropometric indices of height-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-height were computed to evaluate the nutritional status.

RESULTS: Prevalence of stunting, underweight, wasting and anaemia among children were 7.1%, 16.9%, 21.2% and 7.4%, respectively. Deficiencies of zinc and vitamin A occurred among 67% and 38% of children, respectively. Vitamin D deficiency (<10 ng/mL) and insufficiency (10-20 ng/mL) occurred in 5.0% and 29.1% of children, respectively, and12% had parathyroid hormone levels indicative of hypocalcaemia. Nutritional status was significantly correlated (p<0.05) with vitamin D status [height-for-age (r=0.10), weight-for-age (r=-0.18), weight-for-height (r=-0.12)], and with haemoglobin status [weight-for-age (r=0.11)]. Zinc and vitamin A levels were lower in severe stunting compared with normal height (p<0.05). Significant correlations (p<0.05) were observed between vitamin D and parathyroid hormone (r=-0.12) and between haemoglobin and vitamin A (r=0.01), zinc (r=0.02) and vitamin D (r=0.02) levels.

CONCLUSIONS: In the surveyed population, zinc deficiency was high and to a lesser degree vitamin A deficiency and vitamin D insufficiency prevailed. The nutritional status of the children was related to vitamin D status and with haemoglobin status. Zinc and vitamin A levels were low in children with severe stunting. Vitamins A, D and zinc levels were associated with haemoglobin status.

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