Physical growth disorders in under 5-year-old children are a common health problem in many countries including Iran. The aim of this study was to determine effects of supplemental zinc on physical growth in preschool children with retarded linear growth. This study was a community-based randomized controlled trial on 2-5-year-old children with height-for-age below 25th percentile of National Center for Health Statistics growth chart. Ninety children were randomly assigned in zinc group (ZG) or placebo group (PG). After 6 months of zinc or placebo supplementation, we followed up the children for another 6 months. Anthropometric indicators were measured before the intervention and then monthly for 11 months. Forty children in ZG and 45 in PG concluded the study. Zinc supplementation increased weight gain in boys (P=0.04) and girls (P=0.05) compared to placebo but had no significant effect on mid-upper arm circumference increment in either sexes. The most significant (P=0.001) effect of Zinc supplementation was seen in boys' height increment at the end of follow-up period. Stunted growth rate in ZG changed significantly (P=0.01) from 26.7% to 2.5% throughout the study. This study showed that daily supplementation of 5 mg elemental zinc for 6 months improves physical growth in terms of height increment and weight gain in children with undesirable linear growth, especially in boys.
- Dietary supplements