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Nutrition (Micronutrients) in Child Growth and Development: A Systematic Review on Current Evidence, Recommendations and Opportunities for Further Research

Yakoob, Mohammad Yawar MD, MS, DS*; Lo, Clifford W. MD, PhD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: October 2017 - Volume 38 - Issue 8 - p 665–679
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000482
Review Article

Objective: An important aspect of malnutrition is deficiency of different micronutrients during pregnancy or early childhood. We systematically reviewed the role of nutrition in child growth (weight or height gain) and development.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was done on PubMed/Cochrane Library browsing through 38,795 abstracts until December 31, 2016 to select systematic reviews/meta-analyses and individual randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of micronutrient supplementation.

Results: Micronutrients studied included iron, iodine, folate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, and multiple micronutrients. We summarize evidence with details and results of RCTs, highlight strengths/weaknesses, and critically interpret findings. Effects of breastfeeding-promotion, food-supplementation (complementary and school feeding), conditional-cash-transfers, and integrated nutrition/psychosocial interventions are discussed.

Conclusion: Based on this evidence we make policy and programmatic recommendations for supplementation to mothers and children at high-risk of deficiency.

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*Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA;

Department of Nutrition, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA.

Address for reprints: Mohammad Yawar Yakoob, MD, MS, DS, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115; e-mail:

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Received June , 2016

Accepted June , 2017

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