Children consuming cassava as a staple food are at risk for inadequate zinc, iron, and vitamin A intake

Alison Gegios, Rachel Amthor, Busie Maziya-Dixon, Chedozie Egesi, Sally Mallowa, Rhoda Nungo, Simon Gichuki, Ada Mbanaso, Mark J. Manary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Cassava contains little zinc, iron, and β-carotene, yet it is the primary staple crop of over 250 million Africans. This study used a 24-hour dietary recall to test the hypothesis that among healthy children aged 2-5 years in Nigeria and Kenya, cassava's contribution to the childrens' daily diets is inversely related to intakes of zinc, iron, and vitamin A. Dietary and demographic data and anthropometric measurements were collected from 449 Kenyan and 793 Nigerian children. Among Kenyan children 89% derived at least 25% of their dietary energy from cassava, while among the Nigerian children 31% derived at least 25% of energy from cassava. Spearman's correlation coefficient between the fraction of dietary energy obtained from cassava and vitamin A intake was r =-0.15, P<0.0001, zinc intake was r =-0.11,P< 0.0001 and iron intake was r =-0.36,P<0.0001. In Kenya, 59% of children consumed adequate vitamin A, 22% iron, and 31% zinc. In Nigeria, 17% of children had adequate intake of vitamin A, 57% iron, and 41% zinc. Consumption of cassava is a risk factor for inadequate vitamin A, zinc and/or iron intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Foods for Human Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Cassava
  • Iron
  • Micronutrient deficiency
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc


Dive into the research topics of 'Children consuming cassava as a staple food are at risk for inadequate zinc, iron, and vitamin A intake'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this