Nutritional status and its determinants among adolescents with HIV on anti-retroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis



This review aimed to determine what methods are used to assess nutritional status, the levels of nutritional status, determinants of undernutrition, and nutritional interventions employed for adolescents with HIV on Anti-Retroviral Therapy follow-up in Low- and Middle-Income countries.


Established methods were used to systematically identify and retrieve studies published in five databases between January 2000 to May 2021, and citation searching. Quality was appraised and findings were synthesized using narrative analysis and meta-analysis.


Body Mass Index is the major indicator of nutritional status. The pooled prevalence of stunting, wasting, and overweight were 28.0%, 17.0%, and 5.0%, respectively. Adolescent males are 1.85 and 2.55 times more likely than adolescent females to suffer from both stunting and wasting at AOR = 1.85 (95%:1.47, 2.31) and AOR = 2.55 (95%: 1.88, 3.48), respectively. Similarly, adolescents with a history of opportunistic infections were 2.97 times more likely to be stunted than uninfected adolescents, AOR = 2.97 (95%:1.73, 5.12). One single intervention study found significant improvements in anthropometric status after nutritional supplementation.

Conclusion and recommendation

The few studies that have been conducted on nutritional status in adolescents living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries indicate that stunting and wasting are common in this population. Avoiding opportunistic infections is an important protective factor but the review highlighted the generally inadequate and fragmented nature of nutritional screening and support programs. Development of comprehensive and integrated systems for nutritional assessment and intervention services during ART follow-up should be prioritized to improve adolescent clinical outcomes and survival.


Gebrie M, Perry L, Xu X, Kassa A, Cruickshank M




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment


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