Purpose: This study was performed to evaluate the dietary nutrient intake status and hair mineral content of Korean young children.
Methods: Fifty-five children who visited Seoul National University Bundang Hospital were divided into three groups by age: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The 24-hour recall method was used to collect the food intake data of the subjects. Hair mineral analysis was conducted using a Mass Spectrometer. Serum iron, ferritin, and calcium were also measured.
Results: The mean energy intakes of the subjects were 730.3 kcal, 994.3 kcal, and 1,482.9 kcal for each age group. The mean percentage of energy intake compared to recommendation was 101.4% and was not different by age group. Toddlers of 37.8% and preschoolers of 54.5% consumed less than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) of calcium. Infants of 28.6%, toddlers of 10.8% and preschoolers of 9.1% consumed less than the EAR of iron. In the case of zinc, copper, and selenium, only 0% to 5% of toddlers and none of the preschoolers consumed less than the EAR of those minerals. The hair calcium, iron and copper concentrations were lower in toddlers and preschoolers than those in infants. Serum calcium levels of preschoolers were significantly lower than those of infants, whereas serum iron and ferritin levels were not.
Conclusion: Hair calcium, iron, and copper concentrations were significantly lower in toddlers and preschoolers than in infants. Insufficient dietary intake of calcium and iron seems to be related with decreased hair mineral contents in young children.
Keywords: Child; Hair; Mineral; Nutrient.