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Processing of complementary food does not increase hair zinc levels and growth of infants in Kilosa district, rural Tanzania

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2007

Carl K. Lachat
Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nutrition and Child Health Unit, Department of Public Health, Nationalestraat 155, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium Ghent University, Department of Food Safety and Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Belgium
John H. Van Camp
Ghent University, Department of Food Safety and Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Belgium
Peter S. Mamiro
Sokoine University of Agriculture, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Morogoro, Tanzania
Francis Obuoro Wayua
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, National Arid Lands Research Centre, Marsabit, Kenya
Anne S. Opsomer
Ghent University, Department of Food Safety and Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Belgium
Dominique A. Roberfroid
Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nutrition and Child Health Unit, Department of Public Health, Nationalestraat 155, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Patrick W. Kolsteren*
Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nutrition and Child Health Unit, Department of Public Health, Nationalestraat 155, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium Ghent University, Department of Food Safety and Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Belgium
*Corresponding author: Dr Patrick W. Kolsteren, fax + 32 3 2476543, email
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A community-based, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial was conducted from March 2001 to March 2002 in Kilosa, a rural district of Morogoro Region in Tanzania. One hundred and fifty-eight infants were selected randomly from lists of local Maternal and Child Health Care Centres and received either processed complementary food (PCF) or unprocessed complementary food (UPCF) from age 6 to 12 months. Processing increased Zn solubility and energy density of the porridge prepared from the complementary food (CF) as determined in vitro. Phytate:Zn molar ratio of the PCF and UPCF was 25·8 and 47·5, respectively. Under the study conditions, the processing of CF did not improve Zn status as measured by hair analysis. No significant correlations were found between hair Zn values and anthropometric measurements. Our findings suggest that processing alone of cereal-based CF may be insufficient to ensure an adequate supply of Zn to improve growth and Zn status of infants. Dietary modification to tackle Zn deficiencies in similar target groups may therefore only be successful when other Zn-rich foods such as meat and fish are included.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2006


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