Complementary feeding interventions have a small but significant impact on linear and ponderal growth of children in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Anita Panjwani, Rebecca Anne Heidkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: World Health Assembly member states have committed to ambitious global targets for reductions in stunting and wasting by 2025. Improving complementary diets of children aged 6-23 mo is a recommended approach for reducing stunting in children < 5 y old. Less is known about the potential of these interventions to prevent wasting. Objective: The aim of this article was to review and synthesize the current literature for the impact of complementary feeding interventions on linear [length-for-age z score (LAZ)] and ponderal [weight-for-length z score (WLZ)] growth of children aged 6-23 mo, with the specific goal of updating intervention-outcome linkages in the Lives Saved Tool (LiST). Methods: We started our review with studies included in the previous LiST review and searched for articles published since January 2012. We identified longitudinal trials that compared children aged 6-23 mo who received 1 of 2 types of complementary feeding interventions (nutrition education or counseling alone or complementary food supplementation with or without nutrition education or counseling) with a no-intervention control. We assessed study quality and generated pooled estimates of LAZ and WLZ change, as well as length and weight gain, for each category of intervention. Results: Interventions that provided nutrition education or counseling had a small but significant impact on linear growth in food-secure populations [LAZ standardized mean difference (SMD): 0.11; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.22] but not on ponderal growth. Complementary food supplementation interventions with or without nutrition education also had a small, significant effect in food-insecure settings on both LAZ (SMD: 0.08; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.13) and WLZ (SMD: 0.05; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.08). Conclusions: Nutrition education and complementary feeding interventions both had a small but significant impact on linear growth, and complementary feeding interventions also had an impact on ponderal growth of children aged 6-23 mo in low- and middle-income countries. The updated LiST model will support nutrition program planning and evaluation efforts by allowing users to model changes in intervention coverage on both stunting and wasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2169S-2178S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume147
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Complementary feeding
  • Food security
  • Lives Saved Tool
  • Stunting
  • Wasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this