Associations between livestock keeping, morbidity and nutritional status of children and women in low and middleincome countries: a systematic review

Taddese Zerfu*, Giang Nguyen, Alan Duncan, Isabelle Baltenweck, Fiona Brown, Lora L. Iannotti, Geraldine Mcneill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Livestock keeping can positively influence nutritional status of populations and households through increased consumption of animal-source foods (ASF) and other indirect pathways, but can also adversely affect health by increasing the risk of diseases. We conducted a systematic review synthesizing the current state of knowledge on the associations between livestock keeping and infectious disease and nutritional status of under-five children and women of reproductive age in low- and lower middle-income countries (LMICs). A comprehensive search of 12 electronic databases and grey literature sources published from 1991 to the end of December 2020 was conducted. Investigations exploring relationships
between livestock keeping and risk of infectious disease transmission and nutritional status were selected using pre-defined inclusion criteria. After screening and filtering of 34,402 unique references, 176 references were included in the final synthesis. Most (160/176, 90.1%) of the references included in the final synthesis were from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Asia. About two out of every five (42%) studies reviewed showed that livestock production is associated with improved height-for-age Z scores (HAZ) and weight-forlength/height Z scores (WHZ), while close to a third (30.7%) with improved weight-for-age
Z scores (WAZ). Similarly, livestock production showed a positive or neutral relationship with women's nutritional status in almost all the references that reported on the topic. Conversely, four-fifths (66/81, 79.5%) of the references reporting on infection and morbidity outcomes indicated that livestock keeping is linked to a wide range of infectious disease outcomes, which are spread primarily through water, food, and insects. In conclusion, in many LMIC settings, livestock production is associated with better nutritional outcomes but also a higher risk of disease transmission or morbidity among women and children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalNutrition Research Reviews
Early online date16 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Children
  • Livestock
  • morbidity
  • nutritional status
  • women


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations between livestock keeping, morbidity and nutritional status of children and women in low and middleincome countries: a systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this