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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686

Abstract

ROTH, Daniel E; CAULFIELD, Laura E; EZZATI, Majid  and  BLACK, Robert E. Acute lower respiratory infections in childhood: opportunities for reducing the global burden through nutritional interventions. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2008, vol.86, n.5, pp. 356-364. ISSN 0042-9686.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0042-96862008000500013.

Inadequate nutrition and acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) are overlapping and interrelated health problems affecting children in developing countries. Based on a critical review of randomized trials of the effect of nutritional interventions on ALRI morbidity and mortality, we concluded that: (1) zinc supplementation in zinc-deficient populations prevents about one-quarter of episodes of ALRI, which may translate into a modest reduction in ALRI mortality; (2) breastfeeding promotion reduces ALRI morbidity; (3) iron supplementation alone does not reduce ALRI incidence; and (4) vitamin A supplementation beyond the neonatal period does not reduce ALRI incidence or mortality. There was insufficient evidence regarding other potentially beneficial nutritional interventions. For strategies with a strong theoretical rationale and probable operational feasibility, rigorous trials with active clinical case-finding and adequate sample sizes should be undertaken. At present, a reduction in the burden of ALRI can be expected from the continued promotion of breastfeeding and scale-up of zinc supplementation or fortification strategies in target populations.

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