The potential role of micronutrient powders to improve complementary feeding practices

Matern Child Nutr. 2017 Oct;13 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):e12464. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12464.


Micronutrient powder (MNP) interventions are often integrated within infant and young child feeding (IYCF) programmes to improve micronutrient intake from complementary foods. This review aims to describe country experiences with MNP interventions and their impact on IYCF practices and develop a framework for how MNP may strengthen complementary feeding practices. A literature review and key informant interviews were used to gather data on complementary feeding practices in MNP programme design, implementation, and evaluation. Findings from 11 MNP programmes in different geographic regions reinforced the potential of MNP interventions to add renewed focus and resources to existing IYCF programmes. MNP plays an important role in ensuring adequate micronutrient intake and reducing anaemia in young children. In some programmes, MNP users had improved IYCF practices, such as breastfeeding to 24 months and children receiving complementary foods with adequate consistency, frequency, and diversity. Our framework highlights how behaviour change communication is an essential component for influencing household actions, not only to generate demand and promote correct and sustained MNP use but also raise awareness of IYCF practices. The actions at MNP policy, delivery, and behaviour change communication levels collectively influence household IYCF practices, and formative research and monitoring and evaluation serve to inform programme design and optimize impact. In conclusion, a limited but growing body of evidence suggests that MNP interventions can contribute to improve complementary feeding practices. However, there is scope for improvement even among integrated MNP and IYCF programmes in order to realize the full potential of MNP interventions for IYCF practices.

Keywords: behaviour change communication; complementary feeding; conceptual framework; infant and young child feeding; micronutrient powder.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / prevention & control
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Food Safety
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Powders


  • Micronutrients
  • Powders