Open Access Open Badges Research article

Prevalence of prenatal zinc deficiency and its association with socio-demographic, dietary and health care related factors in Rural Sidama, Southern Ethiopia: A cross-sectional study

Samson Gebremedhin1*, Fikre Enquselassie2 and Melaku Umeta3

Author Affiliations

1 College of Agriculture, Hawassa University, Hawassa, Ethiopia

2 School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

3 School of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:898  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-898

Published: 29 November 2011



Several studies witnessed that prenatal zinc deficiency (ZD) predisposes to diverse pregnancy complications. However, scientific evidences on the determinants of prenatal ZD are scanty and inconclusive. The purpose of the present study was to assess the prevalence and determinants of prenatal ZD in Sidama zone, Southern Ethiopia.


A community based, cross-sectional study was conducted in Sidama zone in January and February 2011. Randomly selected 700 pregnant women were included in the study. Data on potential determinants of ZD were gathered using a structured questionnaire. Serum zinc concentration was measured using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. Statistical analysis was done using logistic regression and linear regression.


The mean serum zinc concentration was 52.4 (+/-9.9) μg/dl (95% CI: 51.6-53.1 μg/dl). About 53.0% (95% CI: 49.3-56.7%) of the subjects were zinc deficient. The majority of the explained variability of serum zinc was due to dietary factors like household food insecurity level, dietary diversity and consumption of animal source foods. The risk of ZD was 1.65 (95% CI: 1.02-2.67) times higher among women from maize staple diet category compared to Enset staple diet category. Compared to pregnant women aged 15-24 years, those aged 25-34 and 35-49 years had 1.57 (95% CI: 1.04-2.34) and 2.18 (95% CI: 1.25-3.63) times higher risk of ZD, respectively. Women devoid of self income had 1.74 (95% CI: 1.11-2.74) time increased risk than their counterparts. Maternal education was positively associated to zinc status. Grand multiparas were 1.74 (95% CI: 1.09-3.23) times more likely to be zinc deficient than nulliparas. Frequency of coffee intake was negatively association to serum zinc level. Positive association was noted between serum zinc and hemoglobin concentrations. Altitude, history of iron supplementation, maternal workload, physical access to health service, antenatal care and nutrition education were not associated to zinc status.


ZD is of public health concern in the area. The problem must be combated through a combination of short, medium and long-term strategies. This includes the use of household based phytate reduction food processing techniques, agricultural based approaches and livelihood promotion strategies.

Maternal nutrition; Zinc deficiency; Serum zinc concentration