A Research Protocol
Before investing in food fortification and biofortification as interventions for curbing malnutrition, policymakers, program implementers, and the target population need to carefully weigh the benefits and safety of these interventions. A clear answer from the literature, however, is not easily found, thus justifying the need for a focused, systematic review and meta-analysis for guiding policy and relevant research. HarvestPlus has therefore supported the development of this research protocol. This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials will focus on the following objectives: (i) To evaluate the effect of iron-fortified foods and biofortified crops on efficient indicators of population response, namely hemoglobin and serum ferritin; (ii) To evaluate the possible predictors of a positive hemoglobin response, particularly focusing on food vehicle, iron fortification compound, iron content, baseline hemoglobin and ferritin levels, and duration of fortification; and (iii) To evaluate the effect of iron-fortified foods and biofortified crops on zinc status.