A growth-limiting, mild zinc-deficiency syndrome in some southern Ontario boys with low height percentiles

Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jun;49(6):1266-73. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/49.6.1266.


A double-blind, pair-matched 12-mo study examined the effects of a zinc supplement (10 mg Zn/d as ZnSO4) on linear growth, taste acuity, attention span, biochemical indices, and energy intakes of 60 boys (aged 5-7 y) with height less than or equal to 15th and midparent height greater than 25th percentiles. Boys with initial hair Zn less than 1.68 mumol/g (n = 16) had a lower mean (+/- SD) weight-for-age Z score (-0.44 +/- 0.59 vs -0.08 +/- 0.84), and a higher median recognition threshold for salt (15 vs 7.5 mmol; p = 0.02) than those with hair Zn greater than 1.68 mumol/g. Only boys with hair Zn less than 1.68 mumol/g responded to the Zn supplement with a higher mean change in height-for-age Z score (p less than 0.05); taste acuity, energy intakes, and attention span were unaffected. A growth-limiting Zn deficiency syndrome exists in boys with low height percentiles, hair Zn levels less than 1.68 mumol/g, and impaired taste acuity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Height*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake
  • Growth Disorders / etiology*
  • Hair / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ontario
  • Reference Values
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Taste Disorders / etiology
  • Zinc / administration & dosage
  • Zinc / deficiency*
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Zinc