Micro nutritional deficiency impacts concentration in kids

Lucknow (IANS) Micro-nutritional deficiency in school children can have an adverse impact on their concentration, vasomotor coordination and working memory.

A cross-sectional multi-centre study conducted by researchers at King George’s Medical University (KGMU) has found this.

The study aimed to explore association of micronutrient deficiency (MD) with level of general intelligence and specific cognitive functions — attention, concentration and in vasomotor coordination — among urban school children and adolescents, aged 6 to 16 years, across 10 cities of India.

The study was conducted from April 2019 to February 2022 on 2,428 participants from 60 schools in India and was published in the medical journal ‘Plos One’ on February 2, 2023.

Project administrator and head of paediatrics department, KGMU, Prof Shally Awasthi said: “We assessed eight micronutrients by taking blood samples which included four minerals-calcium, iron, zinc and selenium and four vitamins-A, B12, D and folate at the biochemistry lab of KGMU.”

Cognitive function was assessed using CPM/SPM, co-ding, digit span and arithmetic tests by trained psychologists.

“In July, we found that only 7 per cent participants had no micronutrient deficiency, 23. 8 per cent had any one and 69. 2 per cent had more than two micronutrient deficiencies. The study showed that vasomotor coordination is linked with the levels of calcium, folate, vitamin A and B12 and the working memory is associated with iron, folate, vitamin A and B12,” she said.

“These capabilities were lesser in children with deficiencies. Girls were more deficient than boys.

“The study demonstrates that 17. 6 per cent participants were anaemic as per WHO-defined criteria. We found that anaemia was associated with micronutrient deficiency. More than two MDs were more common in anaemic children than non-anaemic,” she added.

Research was a comprehensive multi-centre work, with a good sample size. But the study was limited to urban settings only.

Due to logistic issues, the sample size was equally divided across all study sites.

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