Interventions to improve water quality and supply, sanitation and hygiene practices, and their effects on the nutritional status of children

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WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) interventions, including the provision of soap, produce small benefits on the growth of children under five years of age.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions are frequently implemented to reduce infectious diseases, and may be linked to improved nutrition outcomes in children. The available evidence from meta‐analysis of data from cluster‐randomised controlled trials with an intervention period of 9‐12 months is suggestive of a small benefit of WASH interventions (specifically solar disinfection of water, provision of soap, and improvement of water quality) on length growth in children under five years of age. The duration of the intervention studies was relatively short and none of the included studies is of high methodological quality. Very few studies provided information on intervention adherence, attrition and costs. There are several ongoing trials in low‐income country settings that may provide robust evidence to inform these findings.

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