Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency among Women of Reproductive Age in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Nigeria.
Adikema, Ndubuisi A.
Department of Medical Laboratory Science
Rivers State university of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
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Serum zinc level was determined for 100 subjects using atomic absorption spectrophotometric method. Statistical analysis of the data generated showed that 43 subjects were deficient with mean value of 0.547 + 0.23mg/l representing 43% of the total population; 38 subjects had normal serum levels of zinc (between 1.00 – 2.00mg/l) with mean serum value of 1.492 + 0.25mg/l; 19 subjects had high level of zinc (>2.oomg/l) with mean serum value of 2.264 + 0.24mg/l representing 19%. In a cross sectional comparison amongst different age classification, it was observed that in subjects 14 – 20 years, 15 out of the 39 subjects had mean serum zinc value of 0.538 + 0.29mg/l, representing 38.5% that were deficient for zinc; in the age range 21-25 years, 6 subjects with mean serum zinc value of 0.514 + 0.24mg/l representing 27.3% were deficient; in the age range 26-30 years 14 out of 20 subjects with mean serum value 0.494 + 0.17mg/l representing 70% were deficient; in the age range 31-35, 8 out of 19 subjects with mean serum value of 0.686 + 0.19 mg/l representing 42.1% were deficient. The results shows that on the whole age range 14 – 20 years with a prevalence of 34.9% was the most vulnerable to zinc deficiency , followed by the age range 26 – 30 years which had 32.5%,and the age range 31 – 35 years which has18.6%, while the least prevalence rate was observed in age range 21 – 25 years, representing 13.95%. The findings show that there exists a problem of zinc deficiency especially within the age group of 14-20 years in Port Harcourt city. Zinc deficiency as found in this study poses a serious health problem considering the role of zinc in reproductive health. The findings call for an advocacy for increased intake of zinc containing food stuffs by women in the child bearing age. Zinc supplementation is recommended for women attending ante natal clinics to minimize the onset of zinc deficiency disorders in the mothers and their babies.