Although more and more national surveys have included the assessment of plasma zinc concentration in recent years, there is still insufficient data on the global prevalence of zinc deficiency. Until further information becomes available, the stunting prevalence can be used as a proxy to estimate the risk of zinc deficiency. In addition, Wessells and Brown (2012) estimated the prevalence of inadequate zinc intake based on the estimated absorbable zinc content of the national food supplies as derived from national food balance sheet data obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. To confirm the prevalence of zinc deficiency, it is recommended to assess plasma zinc concentration and/or dietary zinc intake in countries identified at high risk of zinc deficiency based on a high stunting prevalence or high prevalence of dietary zinc availability.

Estimated country-specific prevalence of inadequate dietary zinc availability based on FAO’s food balance sheets

 

Figure 1. Estimated country-specific prevalence of inadequate zinc intake.

Data are based on the composite nutrient composition database, IZINCG physiological requirements, the Miller Equation to estimate zinc absorption and an assumed 25% inter-individual variation in zinc intake. Data are for the 2005 time frame (2003–2007). 

Reference

Wessells KR, Brown KH (2012) Estimating the Global Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency: Results Based on Zinc Availability in National Food Supplies and the Prevalence of Stunting. PLoS ONE 7(11): e50568. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050568

 

Stunting Prevalence

 

Figure 2. Latest country prevalence estimates for stunting among children under-five years of age.

Reference

UNICEF-WHO-The World Bank Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates. http://www.who.int/nutgrowthdb/jme_unicef_who_wb.pdf 

 

Estimated Global Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency: Results Based on Zinc Availability in National Food Supplies and the Prevalence of Stunting

 

Figure 3.  National risk of zinc deficiency based on the prevalence of childhood stunting and the estimated prevalence of inadequate zinc intake.

Stunting data (low height-for-age) are for children less than five years of age in138 low- and middle-income countries. The estimated prevalence of inadequate zinc intake is based on the FAO national food balance sheet data, the composite nutrient composition database, IZINCG physiological requirements, the Miller Equation to estimate zinc absorption and an assumed 25% inter-individual variation in zinc intake. 

Reference

Wessells KR, Brown KH (2012) Estimating the Global Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency: Results Based on Zinc Availability in National Food Supplies and the Prevalence of Stunting. PLoS ONE 7(11): e50568. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050568