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Serum, zinc and copper levels in children with protein energy malnutrition

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Serum zinc and copper were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in 58 children (3 months-5 years); of these, 46 children had protein energy malnutrition (PEM), and 12 children served as controls. The levels of serum zinc and copper were found to be significantly low in children with severe malnutrition (grades III and IV PEM). There was a significant positive correlation between serum zinc and height-for-age (r=0.8809, p<0.001). Serum copper was found low only in children exhibiting marked linear growth retardation (height-for-age <85% of the normal). Hypoalbuminemia (serum albumin <2.5 g/dl), and anemia (hemoglobin ≤8.0 g/dl) in malnourished children were associated with significant decline in serum zinc and copper levels, respectively.

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Singla, P.N., Chand, P., Kumar, A. et al. Serum, zinc and copper levels in children with protein energy malnutrition. Indian J Pediatr 63, 199–203 (1996).

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