Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia continue to be a nutrition and health problem in infants and children, particularly in developing countries, despite considerable efforts to reduce its prevalence.It was not until the mid-1970s that zinc was found to be an essential nutrient for infants and children. Formula-fed infants were then found to have lower concentrations of zinc in hair and serum than breast-fed infants, and their growth was slower. By increasing the concentration of zinc in formula three-fold, hair and zinc concentrations became similar and their growth improved. The awareness of zinc deficiency as a global health problem is more recent.
Over the last two decades there has been an explosion of interest and a growing demonstration of the potential benefits of consumption of live microorganisms, generally referred to as “probiotics”, in particular for pediatric populations.