Interventions to Improve Micronutrient Status of Women of Reproductive Age in Southeast Asia: A Narrative Review on What Works, What Might Work, and What Doesn't Work

Matern Child Health J. 2019 Jan;23(Suppl 1):18-28. doi: 10.1007/s10995-018-2637-4.


Objectives To provide an overview of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions that could improve micronutrient status of women of reproductive age. Methods This narrative review has a special focus on Southeast Asia, as the work was undertaken within the framework of the SMILING (Sustainable Micronutrient Interventions to controL deficiencies and Improve Nutrition status and General health in Southeast Asia) project. Results In order for new interventions to become accepted, comprehension and interpretation of potential impact of different strategies by policymakers and non-nutritionists is needed. By presenting a wide overview of strategies, and discussing the context and current consensus on these strategies, the review aims to help with the formulation of new recommendations for national programs in Southeast Asia. Conclusions Current policies in Southeast Asia to improve micronutrient status of women of reproductive age are focused too much on single micronutrient supplementation for pregnant women (iron and folic acid supplements). A more holistic approach, including both nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions, is needed.

Keywords: Deficiency; Folic acid; Fortification; Iron; Micronutrient; Supplementation; Women of reproductive age.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Iron Deficiencies*
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Micronutrients / deficiency*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pregnancy


  • Micronutrients
  • Folic Acid