Background and Aims The objective of this study was to determine the hematologic abnormalities and their potential correlates in school children with zinc deficiency.
Methods 20 parameter hemograms were obtained from the children. Variables that could potentially affect hematological parameters as ferritin, zinc, vitamin B12, and folic acid concentrations were measured in sera of 463 school children. Demographic, anthropometric, biochemical and hematological characteristics of zinc deficient children were compared with those of zinc sufficient children. Associations between potentially related parameters were examined.
Results We showed that zinc deficient and control groups were similar for age and gender (p>0.05), and zinc deficient children had smaller head circumferences than zinc sufficient children (p<0.01). We also demonstrated lower hemoglobin (p<0.001), hematocrit and red blood cell counts in zinc deficient children, despite similar ferritin levels in both groups. Correlation analysis proved significant relationship between zinc and hemoglobin levels (p<0.001). Linear regression analysis also verified a positive correlation between hemoglobin and head circumference (p<0.01). Logistic regression demonstrated 12 times more odds of anemia in zinc deficient children (OR: 11.9; 95% CI: 7.0, 20.5).
Conclusions The results implicated that anemia associated with zinc deficiency could not be simply an anemia from iron deficiency but an anemia from deficiency of zinc itself. The results pointed out the concept of zinc deficiency anemia in healthy school children which was not described before. Smaller head circumferences in zinc deficient children might contribute to cognitive deficiencies.