Interventions to improve linear growth during exclusive breastfeeding life-stage for children aged 0-6 months living in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review with network and pairwise meta-analyses Academic Article uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • Background: Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) during the first six months of life is critical for child’s linear growth. While there is strong evidence in favor of EBF, the evidence with regards to other interventions for linear growth is unclear. We evaluated intervention domains of micronutrients, food supplements, deworming, maternal education, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and kangaroo care, for their comparative effectiveness on linear growth. Methods: For this review, we searched for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of the interventions provided to infants aged 0-6 months and/or their breastfeeding mothers in low- and middle-income countries reporting on length-for-age z-score (LAZ), stunting, length, and head circumference. We searched for reports published until September 17th, 2019 and hand-searched bibliographies of existing reviews. For LAZ and stunting, we used network meta-analysis (NMA) to compare the effects of all interventions except for kangaroo care, where we used pairwise meta-analysis to compare its effects versus standard-of-care. For length and head circumference, we qualitatively summarized our findings. Results: We found 29 RCTs (40 papers) involving 35,119 mother and infant pairs reporting on the effects of aforementioned interventions on linear growth outcomes. Our NMA on LAZ found that compared to standard-of-care, multiple micronutrients administered to infants (MMN-C) improved LAZ (mean difference: 0.20; 95% credible interval [CrI]: 0.03,0.35), whereas supplementing breastfeeding mothers with MMN did not (MMN-M, mean difference: -0.02, 95%CrI: -0.18,0.13). No interventions including MMN-C (relative risk: 0.74; 95%CrI: 0.36,1.44) reduced risk for stunting compared to standard-of-care. Kangaroo care, on the other hand, improved head circumference (mean difference: 0.20 cm/week; 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0.09,0.31 cm/week) and length (mean difference: 0.23 cm/week; 95%CI: 0.10,0.35 cm/week) compared to standard-of-care.   Conclusion: Our study found important improvements for kangaroo care, but we did not find sufficient evidence for other interventions. Registration: PROSPERO CRD42018110450; registered on 17 October 2018.

publication date

  • 2019