Do multiple micronutrient interventions improve child health, growth, and development

Added March 9, 2018

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There is evidence from several controlled trials (.25) and 2 meta-analyses that multiple micronutrient (MMN) interventions improve hemoglobin concentrations and reduce anemia, but the effects were small compared to providing only iron or iron with folic acid. Two recent meta-analyses and several intervention trials also indicated that MMN interventions improve linear growth compared to providing a placebo or single nutrients. MMN interventions may result in improved outcomes for children in settings where micronutrient deficiencies are widespread.

Micronutrient deficiencies can co-occur in developing countries. Research has explored the benefits of providing MMN interventions during pregnancy, however the implications for such programs are unclear. This review aimed to summarize information about the efficacy of such interventions on child health, survival, growth, and development, in order to guide future research and identify gaps in existing knowledge. Sixty studies, including controlled trials, intervention trials and six meta-analyses were carefully reviewed. Findings were suggestive of benefit of MMN intervention as fortified foods, for respiratory illness and diarrhea. Benefits of MMN interventions on hemoglobin and anemia were small compared to iron and folic acid. MMN Interventions were shown to improve linear growth. However, a gap in knowledge was identified about the effects of MMN intervention during early childhood on motor and mental development.