Evidence Synthesis and Translation for Nutrition Interventions to Combat Micronutrient Deficiencies with Particular Focus on Food Fortification

Nutrients. 2016 Sep 8;8(9):555. doi: 10.3390/nu8090555.


Over two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Food fortification is a prominent nutrition intervention to combat such deficiencies; however, its effectiveness, risks, and ethical implications vary depending on the contexts associated with the deficiency it is addressing and the circumstances with its implementation. The aim of this research was to analyse the profile of nutrition interventions for combating micronutrient deficiency with particular focus on food fortification reported in existing systematic reviews (SRs), guidelines and policy statements, and implementation actions for nutrition. A review of secondary data available from online databases of SRs, guidelines and policy statements, and implementation actions, categorised as either "nutrition-specific interventions" (NSpI) or "nutrition-sensitive interventions" (NSeI), was conducted. Currently, there is evidence available for a diversity of food fortification topics, and there has been much translation into action. Indeed, food fortification and micronutrient supplementation interventions and NSpI more broadly dominate the profile of interventions for which there were SRs, guidelines, and policy statements available. The findings demonstrate that, although there is a rational linear relationship between evidence synthesis and translation in formulating policy and actions to combat micronutrient deficiencies, the various nutrition interventions available to help combat micronutrient deficiencies are not equally represented in the evidence synthesis and translation processes. Effective and safe policies and actions to combat micronutrient deficiencies require decisions to be informed from a body of evidence that consists of evidence from a variety of interventions. Into the future, investment in making available a higher number of SRs, guidelines and policy statements, and actions of NSeI is indicated.

Keywords: evidence synthesis; food fortification; micronutrient deficiency; nutrition-sensitive; nutrition-specific; policy; systematic review.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition / prevention & control
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Micronutrients / deficiency*
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutritional Status
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances


  • Micronutrients