Zinc supplementation and growth in children
Approximately 165 million children under five years of age are stunted (i.e. height-for-age below -2 SD from WHO child growth standard 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.
Further research is needed before specific recommendations can be made.
Status: not currently available
Related systematic reviews
Effect of preventive zinc supplementation on linear growth in children under 5 years of age in developing countries: a meta-analysis of studies for input to the lives saved tool
Effects of micronutrients on growth of children under 5 y of age: meta-analyses of single and multiple nutrient interventions
Preventive zinc supplementation among infants, preschoolers, and older prepubertal children