Press Release
October 13, 2010


A pilot study commissioned by Senator Edgardo J. Angara showed that the addition of zinc to the daily diet may help fight off malnutrition in children.

Zinc, a trace mineral involved in several metabolic practices, is an important micronutrient vital for normal physical growth, protection from infection and safe pregnancy and delivery.

Global recognition of the importance of zinc in public nutrition has grown exponentially in recent years. However, since zinc deficiency is usually difficult to quickly identify due to the lack of measurable markers, more research was needed to prove the correlation between high levels of the mineral and normal growth rates for children.

The six-month zinc program was conducted late last year in the province of Aurora, with 273 respondents composed of children and infants from 6 months to about 5 years old. For optimum absorption, the subjects were given the zinc supplements in syrup or tablet form before bedtime.

After the supplementation period, the results showed a significant decrease in the number of underweight subjects, from the initial 42.7% to 19.5 % out of all the respondents. Although no significant difference was found among the respondents with below-average height, the researchers suggested a longer period for more conclusive results.

The outcome of the Aurora study indicates that zinc is indeed a practical option to help ease the country's growing malnutrition rates. Angara, a known advocate for children's health, calls for a national zinc supplementation program to aid the existing efforts to curb malnutrition.

"A countrywide program designed around this simple, affordable but very effective micronutrient should be considered. This unappreciated mineral may be just the key in addressing our children's malnutrition problems, helping us reach our country's Millennium Development Goal," he said.

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