Evidence Synthesis of Nutrition-Sensitive Programs

African mother holding her toddler

Despite modest progress, maternal and child undernutrition remains a major global health concern. According to the Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition, promising nutrition-specific interventions that improve nutrition outcomes by addressing its immediate causes include management of acute malnutrition, optimal caloric intake, protein, calcium, and multiple micronutrient supplementation, preventive strategies for malaria in pregnancy, strategies to promote breastfeeding and complementary feeding, and food supplementation in food secure and insecure populations. 

Achieving accelerations in reductions in stunting and wasting will, however, require additional investments in large-scale nutrition-sensitive programs. Examples of promising nutrition-sensitive interventions include social protection and safety net programs, such as cash transfers and women’s self-help groups; water, sanitation, and hygiene services; nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs; and early childhood development interventions. 

Partnership with the World Bank

AIR is partnering with the World Bank to synthesize evidence on the impact of nutrition-sensitive interventions on nutrition outcomes such as stunting and wasting, as well as dietary diversity, and the cost-effectiveness of nutrition-sensitive interventions. 

AIR will conduct an evidence synthesis focusing on a wide variety of nutrition-sensitive interventions to examine these questions. We will, for example, include analyses on the impact and cost-effectiveness of social protection interventions (e.g., cash transfers, self-help groups, savings groups and public works programming), nutrition-sensitive agriculture, early childhood development programs, water, sanitation, and hygiene, and water security services, and programs that facilitate access to health and family planning services. Among these interventions, we will provide more in-depth analyses on social protection and agriculture interventions. To obtain a better understanding about which nutrition-sensitive interventions work, for whom, and under what circumstances, we will also examine barriers and facilitators toward the effectiveness of nutrition-sensitive interventions by incorporating qualitative studies.