Intended for healthcare professionals


Zinc supplementation prevents diarrhoea and pneumonia

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 11 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1521
  1. Gavin Yamey
  1. BMJ

    Dietary zinc supplementation reduces the incidence of childhood pneumonia by 41% and the prevalence of diarrhoea by up to 25% according to a systematic review of 10 randomised controlled trials all performed in the developing world (Journal of Pediatrics 1999;135:689-97).

    This compares favourably with other preventive interventions for diarrhoea, such as sanitation and breast feeding, and is more effective than any other intervention to prevent pneumonia.

    Zinc deficiency is common in young children in the developing world and is associated with reduced immunocompetence and increased rates of serious infectious diseases. Several trials in poor countries have shown the benefit of zinc supplementation in reducing infection (BMJ …

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