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Bull World Health Organ. 2008 May;86(5):356-64.

Acute lower respiratory infections in childhood: opportunities for reducing the global burden through nutritional interventions.

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Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.


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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