Intestinal Microbiota and Child Health

A Review of the Literature

Mikoto Nakamichi, MSN, RN; Dina Madi, PhD, RN


Pediatr Nurs. 2020;46(3):125-137. 

In This Article

Review of the Literature

Data Sources

Searched databases included CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsychINFO, and Google Scholar between January 2013 and January 2019. Search terms used for the current study were intestinal microbiota, children AND adolescents, health, chronic diseases, and mental health AND mental disorders. The review included quantitative, qualitative, and randomized control studies, as well as meta-analysis and thematic review articles. Articles were restricted to the English language only. Further screening of eligible papers was undertaken based on the reference list of the included studies.

Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

Articles were included if they were studies reporting on "intestinal microbiome/microbiota," common chronic health problems (chronic disease or illness or condition and/or mental health), and prebiotics or probiotics. Because a primary focus of the authors in this article features roles of pediatric primary health care providers in developed countries (e.g., United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and others), and these developed countries share increasing issues in common chronic health problems in children, studies were included if studies were conducted in developed countries, and if the children and adolescents in the study sample were between 0 and 18 years of age. Papers were excluded if the sample included adults if the topic was not focused on intestinal micro-biome/biota, on acute and/or rare conditions, was conducted in developing countries, and if concentrating on animal models only. Reports, commentary, and opinions were excluded. Studies were also excluded in case of inability to acquire the full text.

Description of Studies

Initially, 180 articles were identified. By applying inclusion and exclusion criteria and adding two articles from other references, they were filtered to 35 articles (see Figure 1). After full-text review, the final number of articles identified for the review of literature and synthesis was reduced to 25. They included three systemic reviews, nine literature reviews, one RCT, eight prospective studies, three group comparison studies, and one retrospective study (see Table 1). The 25 studies were done in a number of different locations, including Europe, Canada, the United States, and Asia.

Figure 1.

PRISMA Flow Diagram of Study Selection Process