Interventions to improve linear growth during complementary feeding period for children aged 6-24 months living in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review and network meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Background: Optimizing linear growth in children during complementary feeding period (CFP) (6-24 months) are critical for their development. Several interventions, such as micronutrient and food supplements, deworming, maternal education, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), could potentially be provided to prevent stunting, but their comparative effectiveness is currently unclear. In this study, we evaluated comparative effectiveness of interventions under these domains on child linear growth outcomes of height-for-age z-score (HAZ) and stunting (HAZ <-2SD) Methods: For this study, we searched for low- and middle-income country (LMIC)-based randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of aforementioned interventions provided to children during CFP. We searched for reports published until September 17, 2019 and hand-searched bibliographies of existing reviews. We performed random-effects network meta-analysis (NMA) for HAZ and stunting. Results: The evidence base for our NMA was based on 79 RCTs (96 papers) involving 81,786 children. Among the micronutrients, compared to standard-of-care, iron + folic acid (IFA) (mean difference =0.08; 95% credible interval [CrI]: 0.01, 0.15) and multiple micronutrients (MMN) (mean difference =0.06; 95%CrI: 0.01, 0.11) showed improvements for HAZ; MMN also reduced the risks for stunting (RR=0.86; 95%Crl: 0.73, 0.98), whereas IFA did not (RR=0.92; 95%Crl: 0.64, 1.23). For food supplements, flour in the caloric range of 270-340 kcal (RR=0.73; 95%Crl: 0.51, 1.00) and fortified lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) containing 220-285 kcal (RR=0.80; 95%Crl: 0.66, 0.97) decreased the risk of stunting compared to standard-of-care, but these interventions and other food supplements did not show improvements for HAZ. Deworming, maternal education, and WASH interventions did not show improvements for HAZ nor stunting. Conclusion: While we found micronutrient and food supplements to be effective for HAZ and/or stunting, the evidence base for other domains in this life stage was limited, highlighting the need for more investigation. Registration: PROSPERO CRD42018110449; registered on 17 October 2018.

publication date

  • 2019