Nutritional assessment of zinc among adolescents in the Gaza Strip-Palestine


Zinc deficiency, obesity and stunting can be observed together in some developing countries. Moreover, zinc deficiency may enhance fat deposition and decrease lean body mass. In term of health, adequate absorbable zinc in food is essential for human health and growth. On the other hand, zinc deficiency affects children’s physical growth and deteriorates health status and increases the risk and severity of a variety of infectious diseases. The aim of the study is to assess zinc nutritional status among early adolescents in the GazaStrip-Palestine. Methods: A cross sectional study had been performed on 296 adolescents aged 12-15 years old. Three areas in theGazaStrip were chosen randomly. Systematically, pupils of 7th, 8th and 9th grades were selected. Height and weight measures were taken. Questionnaires including dietary habit and physical activities of pupils were collected in addition to serum zinc level measure. Results: The overall prevalence of serum zinc deficiency among adolescents was 42.5%. Zinc deficiency was more prevalent among the females (47.7%) than the males (37.2%). The overall prevalence of high body mass index was 29%. The overall prevalence of stunting was 7.6%. The stunted males (8.8%) were more prevalent than the females (6.4%). Forty-nine percent of the females live in sedentary life style, whereas 55% of the males practiced active and very active leisure physical activity. The females were less consuming of meat, eggs and milk than the males. Serum zinc level is associated positively with consumption of meat, BMI for age, stunting and physical activities. Conclusion: Zinc deficiency is prevalent among adolescents. Serum zinc level was affected positively by consumption of animal food sources. Zinc deficiency is associated positively with the life style characteristic of adolescents in the GazaStrip.

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AbuNada, O. , Jalambo, M. , Ramadan, M. and Zabut, B. (2013) Nutritional assessment of zinc among adolescents in the Gaza Strip-Palestine. Open Journal of Epidemiology, 3, 105-110. doi: 10.4236/ojepi.2013.33017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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