Anthropometry, serum zinc and socio-economic status of children attending a private secondary school in Nigeria in COVID-19 era)

Adebola Oluwapolola Olaniyan, Kehinde Olamide Olayiwola, Ifeoluwa Aderonke Ayodele, Ayobola Abolape Iyanda


Introduction: Pandemics have been known to influence many markers associated with socio-economic status. This is especially true of micronutrients, including zinc. Yet despite the importance of zinc in the human body, there is a paucity of data on the zinc status of Nigerian children. The aim of this study was to determine serum zinc levels, anthropometry, dietary zinc content and socioeconomic status (SES) of school-aged children in the cities of Osogbo and Ogbomoso in South West Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Materials and methods: One hundred and forty-one children (aged 9–17) were recruited for the study, 76 children from Osogbo and 65 children from Ogbomoso. Serum zinc levels were determined using atomic absorption spectrometry. Information on SES and dietary zinc content were obtained using a structured questionnaire. Anthropometric indicators – height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) were also measured. Data were analysed statistically using Student’s t-test and Pearson’s correlation coefficient p < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Results of the study showed that there were no significant differences in the values of zinc, BMI, and MUAC, when both groups were compared. Majority of the students in each group were of medium SES. Sixty percent (Ogbomoso) and 43% (Osogbo) did not consume food rich in zinc, although calculated BMI-for-age percentiles revealed that 89.23% (Ogbomoso) and 71.05% (Osogbo) were of normal weight. Mid-upper arm circumference of <22.0 cm for both groups suggests moderate acute malnutrition despite the fact that a correlation was observed between MUAC and BMI.

Conclusions: The results of the study indicate that moderate zinc deficiency is still prevalent among school-aged children in South West Nigeria and this requires urgent intervention from different stakeholders.


serum zinc; dietary zinc; school-aged children; anthropometry; socio-demography; urban settin

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