Micronutrient Deficiencies and Child Development

Micronutrient Deficiencies and Child Development

 

Maureen Black, of the Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, U.S.A. discussed three important micronutrient deficiencies: iodine, iron and zinc. She emphasized the importance of these elements in brain development during the early years of life (Figure 4.1). Global child development was the focus of a recent series of articles in The Lancet.

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Dr. Black described the significance of iodine deficiency which continues to be a problem throughout the world. In
Figures 4.2, 4.34.4 she reviewed the importance of iodine, the significance of iodine deficiency and the evidence for iodine’s effect on intellectual development. The prevalence of iodine deficiency in different parts of the world is shown in Figure 4.5. Figure 4.6 is a summary of the status of the problem.

 

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Dr. Black described the developmental problems associated with iron deficiency in childhood (
Figure 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, 4.11, 4.124.13). She cited trials which have shown that iron deficiency in childhood is associated with delayed development and that long-term effects on development result even if iron deficiency has been corrected.  However, there is also evidence that therapy can improve immediate and long-term development.

 

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Dr. Black then discussed the significance of zinc deficiency. Zinc is an essential element for cell life however it is likely that deficiencies are prevalent throughout the world (
Figure 4.14). Zinc supplementation has been beneficial in the prevention and treatment of disease and in enhancing growth (Figure 4.15).

 

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Dr. Black raised the important question of the effect of zinc deficiency and zinc supplementation on child development. Her observations are summarized in
Figures 4.16 and 4.17. She then considered and summarized the effect of combined zinc and iron supplementation (Figures 4.18, 4.19. 4.20, 4.21, 4.22).

 

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Dr. Black also emphasized the economic rationale for early micronutrient supplementation (
Figure 4.23).

 

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Dr. Black’s final conclusions are summarized in
Figure 4.24.

 

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References:

1. Engle, PL, Black, MM, Behrman, JR, Cabral de Mello, M., Gertler, PJ, Kapiri, L., Martorell, R., Young, ME, and the International Child Development Steering Group.  Strategies to avoid the loss of developmental potential in more than 200 million children in the developing world. Lancet 2007; 369: 229-242. 

 

2. Grantham-McGregor, S., Cheung, YB, Cueto, S., Glewwe, Pl, Richter, L., Strupp, B., and the International Child Development Steering Group.  Developmental potential in the first 5 years for children in developing countries. Lancet 2007; 369: 60-70.

 

3. Walker, SP, Wachs, TD, Gardner, JM, Lozoff, B., Wasserman, GA, Pollitt, E., Carter, JA, and the International Child Development Steering Group.  Child development:  risk factors for adverse outcomes in developing countries.  Lancet 2007; 369: 145-157.