• Areeg saad Abdalla Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Gezira, Sudan
  • Hayder Elhadi Babikir Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Gezira, Sudan
  • Khalid Eltom Ali Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Gezira, Sudan


Objective: To determine status of iron (Fe), zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) in severely malnourished children in Wad Medani, Central Sudan.

Methods: Atomic absorption spectrophotometry was used to assess the serum concentrations of iron, zinc and copper in ninety children- sixty severely malnourished children and thirty control. The children were selected randomly from patients admitted to the nutritional section at Wad Medani Children Teaching Hospital in Gezira State, Central Sudan. The age range of the studied children was 3-37 months. The malnourished children were diagnosed and classified into two groups: marasmus and kwashiorkor with 30 patients in each group. Their anthropometric measurements including weight and height were measured. Total serum  protein, serum albumin, haemoglobin concentrations and haematocrit were determined using standard methods.

Results: Analysis of variance between the three groups showed highly significant differences in all measured biochemical parameters (p<0.001). Positive and significant correlations were observed between serum albumin and zinc levels (r = 0.4, p=0.01), and between serum copper and haemoglobin levels (r = 0.3, p=0.01). The nature of the association between these trace elements status and their implications for malnutrition pathophysiology are discussed.


1- UNICEF. The state of the World's Children, Unicef, Oxford University Press, 1998.
2- FAO and WHO. Nutrition and Development - a global assessment. International Conference on Nutrition: Italy, 1992.
3- Nelson, W.E.; Behrman, R.E.; Kliegman, R.M. and Arivn, A.M. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 15th ed. Philadelphia: W.B.Saunders, 1996:167.
4- Hathaway, W.E.; Hay, W.W.; Groothuis, J.R. and Pailey, J.W. Current Pediatric Diagnosis and Treatment, 11th ed. Connecticut: Appleton and Lange, 1993: 243.
5- Murray, R.K., Granner, D.K., Mayes, P.A.and Rodwell, V.W.Harper’s Biochemistry, 25th ed. Connecticut: Appleton and Lange, 2000:656.
6- Bishop, M.L.; Duben-Engelkirk, J.L. and Fody E.P. Clinical Chemistry. 3rd edition. Philadelphia : Lipincott – Raven, 1996: 279- 288.
7- Sandstead, H.H.; Vo-Khactu H.F. and Solomons, N. In: Trace Elements in Human Health and Disease vol. 1. edited by Prasad. A,S. and Oberleas, D.P. New York: Academic Press, 1976: 33-34
8- World Health Organization. Severe Malnutrition. In: Management of the Child with a serious infection or severe malnutrition: Guidelines for care at the first-referral level in developing countries, 2000 : 80.
9- Dacie, J.V. and Lewis, S.M.. Practical Haematology 8th edition. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1995: 57.
10- Gowenlock, A.H.; McMurray, J.R.and McLauchlan, D.M. Varley's Practical Clinical Biochemistry. 6th edition. London: Heinemann Medical Books. 1988: 664-665.
11- Alemnji, G.A.; Thomas, K.D.; Durosinmi, M.A.; Tarwo, O. and Fakunle, J.B. Haematogram and serum iron status of malnourished Nigerian children. East-Afr-Med-J 1995; 72 (9): 605-8.
12- Laditan, A.A.and Ette, S.I. Plasma zinc and copper levels during the acute phase of protein –energy malnutrition and after recovery.Trop.Geogr.Med. 1982; 34 (1): 77-80.
13- Tanzer, F. and Ozalp, I. (1988). Plasma and Leucocyte zinc and copper levels in patients with Protein Energy Malnutrition. J-Trop. Pediatr.1982; 34: 306-308.
14- Subotzky, E.F.; Heese, H.D.; Sive, A.A.; Dempster, W.S.; Sacks, R. and Malan, H.. Plasma zinc, copper, selenium, ferritin and whole blood manganese concentrations in children with kwashiorkor in the acute stage and during refeeding. Ann Trop Paediatr 1992 ;12 (1): 13-22.
15- Coulter, J.B.; Suliman, G.I.; Omer, M.I.A.; Macfarlane, S. B.J.; Moody, J.B. and Hendrickse, R.G. Protein-Energy Malnutrition in Northern Sudan:
16- clinical studies. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1988;42(9): 787-796.
17- Ibrahim, S.A.; Eltom, A.M.; Abdul-Rahman, A.M. and Saeed, B.O. Correlation of some biochemical parameters with clinical features of Protein Energy Malnutrition. East. Afr. Med-J. 1994; 71 (2): 77-82.
18- Singla, P.N.; Chand, P.; Kumar, A. and Kachhawaha, J.S. Serum zinc and copper levels in children with protein- energy malnutrition. Indian-J-Pediatr. 1996; 63(2): 199-203.
19- Underwood, E.J. Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition. 3rd edition. . New York:Academic press, 1971.
How to Cite
ABDALLA, Areeg saad; BABIKIR, Hayder Elhadi; ALI, Khalid Eltom. SERUM IRON, ZINC AND COPPER STATUS OF SEVERELY MALNOURISHED CHILDREN IN WAD MEDANI, SUDAN. Gezira Journal of Health Sciences, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, jan. 2005. ISSN 1810-5386. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 01 june 2020.