Systematic review on evidence-based adolescent nutrition interventions

Zohra S. Lassi, Anoosh Moin, Jai K. Das, Rehana A. Salam, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Adolescence is a critical stage in the life cycle, and adequate nutrition is necessary for the proper growth and development of individuals and their offspring. Here, we comprehensively review all published systematic reviews (through October 2016) on adolescents (10–19 years) and women of reproductive age, including pregnant women, which targeted interventions related to nutrition. For interventions where there was no existing systematic review on adolescents, we reviewed primary studies/trials. We included interventions on micronutrient supplementation (iron, folic acid, iron–folic acid (IFA), calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, iodine, and multiple micronutrients), food/protein energy supplementation, nutrition education for pregnant adolescents, obesity prevention and management, and management of gestational diabetes. We identified a total of 35 systematic reviews, of which only five were conducted on adolescents, and 107 primary studies on adolescents. Our review suggests that iron alone, IFA, zinc, and multiple micronutrient supplementation in adolescents can significantly improve serum hemoglobin concentration. While zinc supplementation in pregnant adolescents showed improvements in preterm birth and low birth weight, we found a paucity of trials on calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and iodine supplementation. We found limited evidence on food/protein energy supplementation in adolescents. Interventions to prevent and manage obesity showed a nonsignificant impact on reducing body mass index. This review underscores the importance of adolescent nutrition interventions. It is imperative that countries design nutritional interventions, particularly for adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-50
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • adolescent
  • malnutrition
  • micronutrient
  • nutrition
  • obesity
  • pregnancy


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