Effects of supplementation with zinc and other micronutrients on the health, development and well being of African children
The studies proposed aim to determine the effects of supplementation with zinc and other multi-micronutrients on the health, development and well being of Tanzanian children. To achieve this we will measure, in children of 6-60 months of age receiving for a period of 26 w a daily oral supplement with either zinc or its placebo, and additionally a daily oral supplement with either multiple micronutrients other than zinc or their placebo, group differences in:
- The incidence of malarial episodes, the possibly protective effect of a-Thalessemia, and the prvalence of Helicobacter pylori infections, as detected by clinic-based surveillance (project of drs. Jacobien Veenemans).
- Immunological parameters reflecting alterations in malaria-specific antibody formation, capacity for induction of total and malaria-specific T-cell subpopulations, and alerations in cytokine-mediated immune regulation (project of Mr. Erasto Mbugi).
- Mean height-for-age z-score and median plasma zinc concentration as indicators of zinc status, and status for micronutrients other than zinc, including iron status (median plasma concentrations of ferritin and transferrin receptor) and vitamin A status (median plasma retinol concentration) (project of dr. Hans Verhoef).
- Indicators of mental development, attention, information processing, activity, psychomotor development and neurophysiological performance (project of Mrs. Mary Waka).
We expect that achievement of these objectives will ultimately contribute to:
- The development and dissemination of biofortified crops as a new, safe, low-cost and self-sustaining approach to deliver zinc to poor farmer families (initiative currently undertaken by a global consortium of the world’s leading research institutes in tropical agriculture);
- The development and dissemination of a new vehicle for micronutrient supplementation among young children in developing countries (global research initiative coordinated by the UN Children’s Fund).