Adequacy of Zinc in the National Food Supply

As described above, the nature of the food supply will provide some information on the likelihood of risk of

Table 3 Adequacy of dietary zinc in the food supply in major developing country regions, as compared to North America

Population

Zinc

Phytate:zinc

Zinc from

Estimated population at

(millions)

(mg/caput/day)

molar ratio

animal source

risk of inadequate zinc

foods (%)

intake (%)

North America

305

12.5

11

61

10

China

1256

12.4

16

37

14

Latin America

498

10.3

20

42

25

and Caribbean

South Asia

1297

10.8

26

11

27

Southeast Asia

504

9.2

24

21

33

Sub-Saharan Africa

581

9.4

26

15

28

Adapted with permission from Food and Nutrition Bulletin (2004) (suppl 2) 25: S135.

International Zinc Nutrition Consultative Group (Brown KH, Rivera JA, Bhutta Z, Gibson RS, King JC, Ruel M, Sandstrom B, Wasantwisut E, Hotz C, Lonnerdal B, Lopez de Romana D, and Peerson J) (2004) Assessment of the risk of zinc deficiency in populations and options for its control. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 25: S91-S202.

Adapted with permission from Food and Nutrition Bulletin (2004) (suppl 2) 25: S135.

International Zinc Nutrition Consultative Group (Brown KH, Rivera JA, Bhutta Z, Gibson RS, King JC, Ruel M, Sandstrom B, Wasantwisut E, Hotz C, Lonnerdal B, Lopez de Romana D, and Peerson J) (2004) Assessment of the risk of zinc deficiency in populations and options for its control. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 25: S91-S202.

inadequate dietary zinc within a population. Information compiled by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization has been used to estimate the potential risk of inadequate zinc in the food supply for a large number of countries. This estimate uses country level data on the per capita amounts of 95 different food commodities available for human consumption, and estimates of the zinc content and phy-tate:zinc molar ratio of these foods, to calculate the per capita amount of bioavailable zinc in the food supply. The per capita amount of bioavailable zinc is compared to the physiological requirement for absorbed zinc weighted for the demographic distribution of the population. The theoretical proportion of the population at risk of inadequate dietary zinc is used to estimate the relative risk of zinc deficiency at the national level. For example, countries with 25% or more of the population at risk of inadequate dietary zinc are considered to be at elevated risk. This information is limited in that it represents the national average situation and cannot identify subnational populations that may be at elevated risk. In the absence of more direct measures of zinc status, such estimates will justify the need to conduct population surveys that measure risk of zinc deficiency more directly.

Estimates of the proportion of the population at risk of inadequate dietary zinc based on food supply data have been calculated for 176 countries; a summary of the tabulations by developing country region is given in Table 3, and compared to those from North America. Overall, these estimates suggest that about 20% of the world's population is at risk of inadequate dietary zinc intake.

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