To assess the effectiveness of zinc fortified filtered water to improve zinc intake and status, and reduce morbidity in children aged 2-6 years from rural Western Kenya
We randomly allocated 184 children ( 2-6 years) to receive either zinc fortified filtered water or filtered water with no zinc daily for 6 months. The main outcome measure was dietary zinc intake. Secondary outcomes were plasma zinc concentration (PZn), morbidity and growth. Dietary zinc intake was assessed using a quantitative multi-pass 24hr recall. Secondary outcomes were measured at baseline, midpoint and endpoint except morbidity which was assessed weekly by means of a questionnaire.
Zinc fortified water contributed 42% and 36% of daily requirements for absorbable zinc in children 2-3 and 4-6 years respectively. A time treatment interaction effect was obtained on overall morbidity (p<0.001); RR (95%CI) =0.91 (0.87, 0.96) morbidity due to cold (p=0.034) RR (95%CI) =0.91(0.83, 0.99) and stomach pain (p=0.003) RR (95%CI) =0.70(0.56, 0.89). There was no treatment effect on plasma zinc concentration.
Daily consumption of zinc fortified, microbiologically treated water could have significant public heath impact in improving dietary zinc intake and preventing general childhood infections in preschool children in rural Africa