Galvanizing action: Conclusions and next steps for mainstreaming zinc interventions in public health programs

Kenneth H. Brown, Shawn K. Baker, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Omar Dary, Rosalind S. Gibson, Christine Hotz, Janet C. King, Bo Lönnerdal, Juan A. Rivera, Marie T. Ruel, Emorn Wasantwisut, Sonja Y. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This paper summarizes the results of the foregoing reviews of the impact of different intervention strategies designed to enhance zinc nutrition, including supplementation, fortification, and dietary diversification or modification. Current evidence indicates a beneficial impact of such interventions on zinc status and zinc-related functional outcomes. Preventive zinc supplementation reduces the incidence of diarrhea and acute lower respiratory tract infection among young children, decreases mortality of children over 12 months of age, and increases growth velocity. Therapeutic zinc supplementation during episodes of diarrhea reduces the duration and severity of illness. Zinc fortification increases zinc intake and total absorbed zinc, and recent studies are beginning to confirm a positive impact of zinc fortification on indicators of population zinc status. To assist with the development of zinc intervention programs, more information is needed on the prevalence of zinc deficiency in different countries, and rigorous evaluations of the effectiveness of large-scale zinc intervention programs should be planned. Recommended steps for scaling up zinc intervention programs, with or without other micronutrients, are described. In summary, there is now clear evidence of the benefit of selected interventions to reduce the risk of zinc deficiency, and a global commitment is urgently needed to conduct systematic assessments of population zinc status and to develop interventions to control zinc deficiency in the context of existing public health and nutrition programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S179-S184
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
Issue number1 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • Dietary diversification
  • Dietary modification
  • Research needs
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Zinc fortification
  • Zinc intervention
  • Zinc supplementation


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