Interventions to Improve Adolescent Nutrition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Rehana A. Salam, Mehar Hooda, Jai K. Das, Ahmed Arshad, Zohra S. Lassi, Philippa Middleton, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Adequate adolescent nutrition is an important step for optimal growth and development. In this article, we systematically reviewed published studies till December 2014 to ascertain the effectiveness of interventions to improve adolescent nutrition. We found one existing systematic review on interventions to prevent obesity which we updated and conducted de novo reviews for micronutrient supplementation and nutrition interventions for pregnant adolescents. Our review findings suggest that micronutrient supplementation among adolescents (predominantly females) can significantly decrease anemia prevalence (relative risk [RR]: .69; 95% confidence interval [CI]: .62–.76) while interventions to improve nutritional status among “pregnant adolescents” showed statistically significant improved birth weight (standard mean difference: .25; 95% CI: .08–.41), decreased low birth weight (RR: .70; 95% CI: .57–.84), and preterm birth (RR: .73; 95% CI: .57–.95). Interventions to promote nutrition and prevent obesity had a marginal impact on reducing body mass index (standard mean difference: −.08; 95% CI: −.17 to .01). However, these findings should be interpreted with caution due to significant statistical heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S29-S39
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Adolescent nutrition
  • Micronutrient supplementation
  • Preconception nutrition
  • Pregnant adolescents


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