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Journal of Human Growth and Development

Print version ISSN 0104-1282


PEDRAZA, Dixis Figueroa  and  QUEIROZ, Daiane de. Micronutrients in child growth and development. Rev. bras. crescimento desenvolv. hum. [online]. 2011, vol.21, n.1, pp. 156-171. ISSN 0104-1282.

OBJECTIVE: the present work addresses the importance of micronutrients zinc, iron and vitamin A in linear growth and child development. METHOD: we consulted the databases of Medline and LILACS. We used two search strategy: i) growth AND zinc AND iron AND vitamin A AND child, preschool OR infant, for micronutrients and growth; and ii) child development AND zinc AND iron AND vitamin A, for micronutrients and development. The articles were classified according to type and principal results. RESULTS: we included 19 articles concerning the growth and 5 articles relating to development. DISCUSSION: considering the prevalence, it is suggested that deficiencies of iron and zinc should contribute, concurrently with the stunting. The role of zinc in the primary hormonal system justifies it being the nutrient of greatest importance in growth, affecting children's height both in light or moderate states of deficiency. Physiological and experimental evidences pose the importance of iron and zinc micronutrients in development and cognitive deficit in the first years of life. Besides that, the results are still not conclusive. It is thought that zinc can limit specific neuropsychological processes, now iron is essential for the neuro-transmitter system operation. Studing the isolated effect of micronutrient deficiencies in development presents several methodological and analytical problems. Growth and development represents a process with common determination in which zinc deficiency may represent the most common way in which the linear growth could be used as a good predictor of cognitive development.

Keywords : micronutrients; growth; child development; cognitive development; zinc; iron; vitamin A.

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