The impact of preschool feeding programmes on the growth of disadvantaged young children in developing countries

Added March 21, 2018

Citation: Els A., & Walsh C. The impact of preschool feeding programmes on the growth of disadvantaged young children in developing countries: A systematic review of randomised trials. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (2013). 26(2), 33-40.

In view of limitations, no firm conclusion can be drawn. Additional research, aimed at determining the impact of supplementary feeding programs in supporting the growth of disadvantaged children, is encouraged. 

Malnutrition in children in developing countries can lead to serious developmental problems as well as increased mortality and morbidity. Feeding programs as a strategy of treatment for childhood malnutrition have been considered to be of questionable efficiency. This review aimed to assess the efficiency of preschool feeding programs in encouraging growth of children. Most studies of the ten included in this review, showed a positive effect on recovery from malnutrition with feeding programs. Higher rates of weight gain were observed with supervised intake of food supplements. Micronutrient fortification had a positive effect on linear growth. Nutrition education may contribute to the effectiveness of interventions for malnutrition. Conclusions drawn from this review were not deemed to be firm as a result of the amount of low quality studies included. Further more risk of bias assessments were carried out by a single author with a self-designed grade system, as such the evidence for the effective use of feeding programs to treat malnutrition was insufficient.


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