"Zinc Saves Kids" honored with Humanitarian Award

25.11.2011

New Jersey, United States: The American College of Nutrition has presented its annual Humanitarian award to “Zinc Saves Kids,” an initiative launched in 2010 by the International Zinc Association (IZA) in support of UNICEF’s micronutrient programs for children in developing countries. The provision of zinc supplements for children suffering from diarrhea aids a quick recovery, prevents future episodes and saves lives. 

Zinc is an essential micronutrient. It is vital for the proper functioning of the immune system and critical for growth and brain development especially in young children. Children require 5 to 10 mg of zinc daily. These are small, but critical amounts which make a huge difference between illness or health and death or life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) zinc deficiency is one of the leading risk factors associated with diarrhea.  “Zinc is directly implicated in approximately 450,000 deaths of children so if we could make sure that the zinc status of those children is optimal, we would be able to prevent 450,000 annual deaths,” says Nita Dalmiya, Nutrition Specialist, Micronutrients, UNICEF. 

Zinc Industry supports UNICEF´s Programme

“We are honored that the American College for Nutrition has chosen ‘Zinc Saves Kids’ for its annual Humanitarian Award,” says Stephen Wilkinson, Executive Director of the IZA. “IZA – representing the zinc industry worldwide – is proud to be able to give back to society by supporting UNICEF’s programs to save the lives of children through a material [zinc] that we deal with everyday in our business. This award is a great recognition of our efforts to make `Zinc Saves Kids´ a success and to raise awareness about the importance of zinc and the wide prevalence of zinc deficiency.” 

IZA’s fundraising activity is also supported by the German zinc industry being organized in the so-called “Initiative Zink”. Its speaker Dirk Böttcher explains: “A zinc deficiency can be treated rather easily with cheap, simple and existing tools such as zinc supplements. An amount of 50 Cents guarantees a child’s 10 to 14-day-treatment with zinc tablets and oral rehydration salts can cure acute diarrhea.” And only 1 to 4 US dollars are needed to secure a child’s prophylactic medical zinc treatment throughout the year.” Mr Böttcher added: “This is why we support “Zinc Saves Kids”. We are well aware that every cent donated for this activity provides direct help.”

The award was presented to “Zinc Saves Kids” by Dr. Ananda S. Prasad, Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University, Detroit. Dr. Prasad specializes in the role of zinc in human metabolism and was one of the pioneers in the 1960s in providing clear evidence of zinc and human growth.  Dr. Prasad noted: “The American College of Nutrition Humanitarian Award acknowledges an individual or organization who has worked selflessly and effectively in the broader field of nutrition to benefit humanity.  The ‘Zinc Saves Kids’ initiative is not only a milestone in child health and survival, but is also a high profile, public forum in which to showcase the essential role zinc plays in child development and subsequently, healthy, productive adults. We hope that this year’s Humanitarian Award will be a tribute to their efforts and also encourage more people and organizations to follow in their footsteps. Due to my own role in the field of zinc research, it is a special honor for me to be involved in conferring the ACN Humanitarian Award to a group that is helping implement many of the steps suggested by the research on zinc.”

"Zinc Saves Kids" is an initiative of the International Zinc Association (IZA) in support of UNICEF. The initiative aims at improving the survival, growth and development of malnourished children in developing countries by funding UNICEF’s zinc-containing micronutrient programs for treatment and prevention of malnutrition and diarrhea.  "Zinc Saves Kids" will raise a minimum of US$ 3 million over a three-year-period – January 2010 - December 2012.  For further information, visit www.zincsaveskids.org.

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