Interventions to tackle malnutrition and its risk factors in children living in slums – a scoping review

Context: Children living in slums are at high risk of being malnourished. There are no published reviews on existing interventions promoting better nutrition for children living in slums and the risks factors for children’s malnutrition. Improved understanding of the risks factors for malnutrition in slums communities and the impact of interventions on children’s health can provide guidance to practitioners and decision-makers. The present review is designed to provide this information. Methods: The search included 30 electronic bibliographic databases, and relevant eligible studies published up to December 2013. Results: The search located 1,512 citations. Full text relevance screening was conducted on 226 studies and on abstracts for 16 studies. The final 58 unique studies included 22 on interventions and 38 on risk. All of the interventions were nutrition-specific with nutritional intervention being the most dominant type. Seventy three percent of the interventions were assessed effective. Conclusion: The findings stressed the gaps in knowledge in terms of quality assessment and programmatic recommendations to identify children who are the most at risk of malnutrition to appropriately target interventions. Finally, the review helped to inform a systematic review (Cochrane Systematic review protocol 2015) that will examine the impact of interventions on outcome measures.