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Dietary calcium and zinc deficiency risks are decreasing but remain prevalent

Joy, Edward J. M.; Kumssa, Diriba B.; Joy, Edward J.M.; Ander, E. Louise; Watts, Michael J.; Young, Scott D.; Walker, Sue; Broadley, Martin R.


Edward J. M. Joy

Edward J.M. Joy

Principal Research Fellow

Michael J. Watts

Scott D. Young

Sue Walker


Globally, more than 800 million people are undernourished while >2 billion people have one or more chronic micronutrient deficiencies (MNDs). More than 6% of global mortality and morbidity burdens are associated with undernourishment and MNDs. Here we show that, in 2011, 3.5 and 1.1 billion people were at risk of calcium (Ca) and zinc (Zn) deficiency respectively due to inadequate dietary supply. The global mean dietary supply of Ca and Zn in 2011 was 684 ± 211 and 16 ± 3 mg capita−1 d−1 (±SD) respectively. Between 1992 and 2011, global risk of deficiency of Ca and Zn decreased from 76 to 51%, and 22 to 16%, respectively. Approximately 90% of those at risk of Ca and Zn deficiency in 2011 were in Africa and Asia. To our knowledge, these are the first global estimates of dietary Ca deficiency risks based on food supply. We conclude that continuing to reduce Ca and Zn deficiency risks through dietary diversification and food and agricultural interventions including fortification, crop breeding and use of micronutrient fertilisers will remain a significant challenge.


Joy, E. J. M., Kumssa, D. B., Joy, E. J., Ander, E. L., Watts, M. J., Young, S. D., …Broadley, M. R. (2015). Dietary calcium and zinc deficiency risks are decreasing but remain prevalent. Scientific Reports, 5(1), Article 10974.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 30, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 22, 2015
Publication Date 2015-09
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2016
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Article Number 10974
Public URL
Publisher URL


srep10974.pdf (2 Mb)

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