Effect of iron supplementation on physical growth in children: systematic review of randomised controlled trials


Sachdev, H.P.S., Gera, Tarun and Nestel, Penelope (2006) Effect of iron supplementation on physical growth in children: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Public Health Nutrition, 9, (7), 904-920. (doi:10.1017/PHN2005918).

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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/PHN2005918

Description/Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of iron supplementation on physical growth in children through a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). DATA SOURCES: Electronic databases, personal files, and hand search of reviews, bibliographies of books, abstracts and proceedings of international conferences. REVIEW METHODS: RCTs evaluating change in anthropometry with interventions that included oral or parenteral iron supplementation, or iron-fortified formula milk or cereals, were analysed. RESULTS: Twenty-five trials (26 cohorts) had relevant information. There was no evidence of publication bias. The pooled estimates (random effects model) did not document a statistically significant (P>0.05) positive effect of iron supplementation on any anthropometric variable (weight-for-age, weight-for-height, height-for-age, mid upper-arm circumference, skinfold thickness, head circumference). Significant heterogeneity was evident, and its predictors included greater weight-for-age in supplemented children in malaria hyperendemic regions and greater weight-for-height for children above 5 years of age, but a negative effect on linear growth in developed countries and with supplementation for 6 months or longer. CONCLUSIONS: This review did not document a positive effect of iron supplementation on the physical growth of children. The identified predictors of heterogeneity should be considered as exploratory and requiring confirmation, not conclusive.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1368-9800 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: anaemia, anthropometry, growth, height-for-age, iron deficiency, iron supplementation, meta-analysis, randomised controlled trials, weight-for-age, weight-for-height
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine
ePrint ID: 61486
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:43
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/61486

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