ISSN 1683-9803 versão on-line
Introduction: The micronutrients iron (Fe), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) are involved in important biological functions such as growth and child development, blood cell formation, energy metabolism, and immune response. The purpose of our study was to determine plasma concentrations of iron, copper and zinc in Bari schoolchildren. Methods: Peripheral blood samples were collected from 42 children aged 6-12 years in the indigenous Bari community, "Kumanda", in the Perija mountain range of Venezuela's Zulia state. Assessment was performed by combining the anthropometric nutritional indicators of weight/age, weight/height, and height/age. Concentrations of Fe, Zn and Cu were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. Focused ethnography was used to study dietary mineral intake. Results: Plasma concentrations of minerals (µg/ml) in Bari children were Fe 0.44±0.10, Zn 0.32±0.04, and Cu 0.76±0.06, with no gender differences (p> 0.05).Low levels of Fe (<0.50 µg/ml) were found in 88.1%, Zn (<0.70 µg/ml) in 92.9%, and Cu (<0.90 µg/ml) in 69.1% of children. Anthropometric nutritional assessment showed 71.4% of Bari children as deficient, 26.2% as normal, and 2.4% overweight. Daily intake of minerals was very poor, reaching 59.77% for Fe, 7.37% for Zn, and 14.67% for Cu. Conclusion: The study sample presented deficiencies of iron, copper, and zinc, with a high prevalence of malnutrition.
Palavras-chave: Bari ethnicity; indigenous population; children; blood chemical analysis; iron; zinc; copper; nutritional deficiency; nutritional status; atomic spectrometry.
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