There is an urgent need for more and better data on the zinc status of vulnerable populations to effectively target and monitor zinc intervention programs. 

The prevalence of child stunting and estimated absorbable zinc in the national food supply can be used as proxy measures to estimate the risk of zinc deficiency. Based on national food balance sheets, it is estimated that at least 17% of the world’s population is at risk of inadequate zinc intake. However, data from national surveys that have included plasma or serum zinc assessment show that intake based on food balance sheets underestimate the risk of zinc deficiency. In 13 of 19 surveys, the prevalence of low plasma/serum zinc concentrations in young children was >20%, indicative of a public health problem.

To confirm the prevalence of zinc deficiency, it is recommended to measure plasma/serum 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 inadequate zinc in the food supply.

Plasma/serum zinc is now part of WHO’s Micronutrient Database hyperlink https://www.who.int/vmnis/database/en/.

 

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

Source: Wessells & Brown, 2012

Source: Wessells & Brown, 2012

 

percentage of pre-school children with low plasma or serum zinc concentrations

Map generated from data in the World Health Organization’s Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System Micronutrients Database (https://www.who.int/vmnis/database/en/)

Map generated from data in the World Health Organization’s Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System Micronutrients Database (https://www.who.int/vmnis/database/en/)

 

PLASMA or serum ZINC CONCENTRATION DATA ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTRIES 

Afghanistan — National Nutrition Survey Afghanistan (2013) Survey Report
Azerbaijan — Nutrition Survey 2013 
Bangladesh — National Micronutrients Status Survey 2011-12 – Final Report
Bolivia — data coming
Cambodia — Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey – 2014 ; zinc data coming soon
Cameroon — Stunting Prevalence, Plasma Zinc Concentrations, and Dietary Zinc Intakes in a Nationally Representative Sample Suggest a High Risk of Zinc Deficiency among Women and Young Children in Cameroon
China — data coming
Colombia —  Factores asociados a la deficiencia de zinc en niños colombianos; resultados de la Encuesta Nacional de Salud 2010; estudio transversal 
Ethiopia — Ethiopian National Micronutrient Survey Report, September 2016
Fiji   Impact of Iron Fortified Flour in Child Bearing Age (CBA) Women in Fiji 2010 Report
Guatemala — data coming
India — samples being collected 2016-2017
Kenya —  Anaemia and Status of Iron, Vitamin A and Zinc in Kenya – The 1999 National Survey Report
Kuwait — Reference Ranges of Copper and Zinc and the Prevalence of Their Deficiencies in an Arab Population Aged 15-80 Years
Malawi — Malawi Micronutrient Survey Key Indicators Report 2015-16
Maldives — Project Report National Micronutrient Survey 2007 Republic of Maldives
Mexico — Anemia and iron, zinc, copper and magnesium deficiency in Mexican adolescents: National Health and Nutrition Survey 2006 ; Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency in Mexican Children and Women of Childbearing Age (abstract);  Iron, zinc, copper and magnesium nutritional status in Mexican children aged 1 to 11 years ; Iron, zinc, copper and magnesium deficiencies in Mexican adults from the National Health and Nutrition Survey 2006
Myanmar — Interim report launched February 2019
Nepal — Nepal National Micronutrient Status Survey
Nigeria — Nigeria Food Consumption and Nutrition Survey 2001-2003: Summary
Pakistan — National Nutrition Survey Pakistan 2011 ; Evaluation of Zinc Status and Community Perceptions in Pakistan: The National Nutrition Survey 2011 (abstract)
Philippines— 7th National Nutrition Survey, Philippines 2008: Serum Zinc Levels in Selected Filipino Population Groups
Senegal— Statut en Zinc des Enfants Senegalais et Evaluation de L’Utilisation de la Concentration Plasmatique en Zinc pour Tester L’Impact des Programmes de Fortification ; Adjusting Plasma Concentrations of Ferritin, Retinol, and Zinc Affect the Prevalence of Micronutrient Deficiencies in Children but Not in Women (abstract); 
South Africa — The National Food Consumption Survey (NFCS): South Africa, 1999
Sri Lanka — National Nutrition and Micronutrient Survey – Part II: Iron, Zinc and Calcium Deficiency Among Children Aged 6-59 Months
Vietnam — Micronutrient Deficits Are Still Public Health Issues among Women and Young Children in Vietnam