Significant delays in linear growth and weight gain are common features of mild zinc deficiency in children. In the 1970s and 1980s, several randomized placebo-controlled trials of zinc supplementation in young children with significant growth delays were conducted in Denver, Colorado. Modest zinc supplementation (5.7 mg/day) resulted in increased growth rates compared to placebo.21 Since then, numerous studies in developing countries have observed similar results with modest zinc supplementation. A meta-analysis of 33 controlled intervention trials conducted throughout the world found that supplementation of children with zinc (3-20 mg/day) resulted in highly significant increases in linear growth and weight gain.22 These findings indicate that growth-limiting zinc deficiency in children is widespread, particularly in developing countries.
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