Adolescent undernutrition in South Asia: A scoping review

Sara Estecha Querol, Paramjit Gill, Romaina Iqbal, Maartje Kletter, Neslihan Ozdemir, Lena Al-Khudairy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Undernutrition is a growing public health challenge affecting growth and development during adolescence in many low- and middle-income countries. This scoping review maps the evidence on adolescent undernutrition (stunting, thinness and micronutrient deficiencies) in South Asia and highlights gaps in knowledge. Using Arksey and O'Malley's framework and the Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewers' Manual, the search included electronic bibliographic databases (Medline (OVID), Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, CINAHL, PsycInfo, and Scopus) as well as various grey literature sources published up to March 2019. In total, 131 publications met the inclusion criteria of this review. All the included evidence used quantitative data and 115 publications used a cross-sectional design. Nearly 70% (n = 86) of the included publications were conducted in India. Prevalence of undernutrition was reported based on different growth references and cut-offs. Evidence is divided into publications that included an intervention component (n = 12) and publications that did not include an intervention component (n = 116), and presented in a narrative synthesis. This scoping review provides a wide range of publications on adolescent undernutrition in South Asia and identifies future research priorities in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition Research Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2022


  • Scoping review
  • South Asia
  • adolescence
  • micronutrient deficiency
  • stunting
  • thinness
  • undernutrition


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