A Comparison of the Zinc, Copper and Manganese Status of Very Low Birth Weight Pre-Term and Full-Term Infants

During a longitudinal study, hair samples and dietary intake data were collected from 50 preterm (mean birth weight = 1054k234 g, mean gestational age = 29k2.5 weeks) and 60 fullterm infants (mean birth weight = 3509+269 g, mean gestational age = 4Ok1 weeks) at 3, 6 and 12 months of age. Mean daily zinc, copper and manganese intakes were calculated using three-day dietary records and test-weight data for the breast-fed infants. Hair samples were analyzed for these elements by instrumental neutron activation analyses. The medium hair zinc concentration in the pre-term group at six months (81 pg/g) was lower @<0.05) than that of the full-term group (144 pg/g) and was associated with lower mean dietary zinc intakes at 3 and 6 months. At 12 months, the median hair copper (12.5 pg/g) and manganese (0.18 pg/g) concentrations for the pre-term were lower @<0.05) than those of the full-term infants (Cu = 16.5 pg/g; Mn = 0.25 pg/g) and were also associated with low dietary copper and manganese intakes.

J. K. Friel, R. S. Gibson, R. Balassa and J. L. Watts (Acta Plediatr Scand 73: 596-601, 1984)