Anemia is a complex condition requiring nutrition-specific and -sensitive interventions for prevention and control. The USAID-funded Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project conducted a review of reviews-a new method of collating information from multiple systematic reviews-to explore the impact of nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific interventions on hemoglobin and anemia outcomes among children and adults.
We conducted a systematic search of Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Global Health, and Scopus databases from 1946-2015 using terms for nutrition-specific and -sensitive interventions. Two reviewers independently screened abstracts and full texts of reviews, extracted data, and rated the methodological quality. Subgroup analyses included age, sex, region, and environmental and social factors. Quantitative results describing the influence of interventions on hemoglobin and anemia outcomes were extracted and summarized.
The search strategy retrieved 13,140 abstracts. The majority of the eligible reviews related to nutrition-specific interventions including micronutrient supplementation and fortification, disease control, and delayed cord clamping. Nutrition-sensitive interventions related to food security; social safety nets; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and family planning were less common. The studies included in different reviews overlapped significantly. The review of reviews presents the impacts of these interventions on hemoglobin and anemia.
Our summary of evidence highlights the range of effective interventions to reduce anemia, with a concentration on nutrition-specific interventions given data availability. This information will help public health practitioners identify appropriate interventions to prevent and control anemia, and emphasizes the need to build further evidence on nutrition-sensitive interventions.