e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Zinc supplementation and growth in children

Approximately 155 million children under five years of age are stunted (height-for-age < -2 SD below the WHO Child Growth Standards median), with the vast majority living in Africa and Asia.

Zinc is important for cellular growth, cellular differentiation and metabolism and deficiency limits childhood growth and decreases resistance to infections. Although severe zinc deficiency is rare in humans, mild to moderate deficiency may be common worldwide.

The available evidence is inconsistent, but suggests that zinc supplementation may help to improve linear growth of children under 5 years of age.

WHO recommendations

Further research is needed before specific recommendations can be made.

WHO documents

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines

Status: not currently available



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