Methods and Findings
- Vogel J.P.
- Oxman A.D.
- Glenton C.
- Rosenbaum S.
- Lewin S.
- Gulmezoglu A.M.
- et al.
2. Scope of PRISMA-E 2012
- (1)Assess effects of interventions targeted at disadvantaged or at-risk populations (e.g., school feeding for disadvantaged children []). These may not include equity outcomes but by targeting disadvantaged populations will reduce inequities.
- (2)Assess effects of interventions aimed at reducing social gradients across populations or among subgroups of the population (e.g., interventions to reduce the social gradient in smoking, obesity prevention in children, interventions delivered by lay health workers [15,18,19,20]).
3. Methods PRISMA-E 2012 reporting guideline
|Section||Item||Standard PRISMA item||Extension for equity-focused reviews|
|Title||1||Identify the report as a systematic review, meta-analysis, or both.||Identify equity as a focus of the review, if relevant, using the term equity.|
|Structured summary||2||Provide a structured summary including, as applicable: background; objectives; data sources; study eligibility criteria, participants, and interventions; study appraisal and synthesis methods; results; limitations; conclusions and implications of key findings; systematic review registration number.||State research question(s) related to health equity.|
|2A||Present results of health equity analyses (e.g., subgroup analyses or meta-regression).|
|2B||Describe extent and limits of applicability to disadvantaged populations of interest.|
|Rationale||3||Describe the rationale for the review in the context of what is already known.||Describe assumptions about mechanism(s) by which the intervention is assumed to have an impact on health equity.|
|3A||Provide the logic model/analytical framework, if done, to show the pathways through which the intervention is assumed to affect health equity and how it was developed.|
|Objectives||4||Provide an explicit statement of questions being addressed with reference to PICOS.||Describe how disadvantage was defined if used as criterion in the review (e.g., for selecting studies, conducting analyses, or judging applicability).|
|4A||State the research questions being addressed with reference to health equity.|
|Protocol and registration||5||Indicate if a review protocol exists, if and where it can be accessed (e.g., Web address), and, if available, provide registration information including registration number.|
|Eligibility criteria||6||Specify study characteristics (e.g., PICOS, length of follow-up) and report characteristics (e.g., years considered, language, publication status) used as criteria for eligibility, giving rationale.||Describe the rationale for including particular study designs related to equity research questions.|
|6A||Describe the rationale for including the outcomes (e.g., how these are relevant to reducing inequity).|
|Information sources||7||Describe all information sources (e.g., databases with dates of coverage, contact with study authors to identify additional studies) in the search and date last searched.||Describe information sources (e.g., health, nonhealth, and gray literature sources) that were searched that are of specific relevance to address the equity questions of the review.|
|Search||8||Present full electronic search strategy for at least one database, including any limits used, such that it could be repeated.||Describe the broad search strategy and terms used to address equity questions of the review.|
|Study selection||9||State the process for selecting studies (i.e., screening, eligibility, included in systematic review, and, if applicable, included in the meta-analysis).|
|Data collection process||10||Describe method of data extraction from reports (e.g., piloted forms, independently, in duplicate) and any processes for obtaining and confirming data from investigators.|
|Data items||11||List and define all variables for which data were sought (e.g., PICOS, funding sources) and any assumptions and simplifications made.||List and define data items related to equity, where such data were sought (e.g., using PROGRESS-Plus or other criteria, context).|
|Risk of bias in individual studies||12||Describe methods used for assessing risk of bias of individual studies (including specification of whether this was done at the study or outcome level), and how this information is to be used in any data synthesis.|
|Summary measures||13||State the principal summary measures (e.g., risk ratio, difference in means).|
|Synthesis of results||14||Describe the methods of handling data and combining results of studies, if done, including measures of consistency (e.g., I2) for each meta-analysis.||Describe methods of synthesizing findings on health inequities (e.g., presenting both relative and absolute differences between groups).|
|Risk of bias across studies||15||Specify any assessment of risk of bias that may affect the cumulative evidence (e.g., publication bias, selective reporting within studies).|
|Additional analyses||16||Describe methods of additional analyses (e.g., sensitivity or subgroup analyses, meta-regression), if done, indicating which were prespecified.||Describe methods of additional synthesis approaches related to equity questions, if done, indicating which were prespecified.|
|Study selection||17||Give numbers of studies screened, assessed for eligibility, and included in the review, with reasons for exclusions at each stage, ideally with a flow diagram.|
|Study characteristics||18||For each study, present characteristics for which data were extracted (e.g., study size, PICOS, follow-up period) and provide the citations.||Present the population characteristics that relate to the equity questions across the relevant PROGRESS-Plus or other factors of interest.|
|Risk of bias within studies||19||Present data on risk of bias of each study and, if available, any outcome level assessment (see item 12).|
|Results of individual studies||20||For all outcomes considered (benefits or harms), present, for each study: (1) simple summary data for each intervention group; (2) effect estimates and confidence intervals, ideally with a forest plot.|
|Synthesis of results||21||Present results of each meta-analysis done, including confidence intervals and measures of consistency.||Present the results of synthesizing findings on inequities (see item 14).|
|Risk of bias across studies||22||Present results of any assessment of risk of bias across studies (see item 15).|
|Additional analysis||23||Give results of additional analyses, if done (e.g., sensitivity or subgroup analyses, meta-regression [see item 16]).||Give the results of additional synthesis approaches related to equity objectives, if done (see item 16).|
|Summary of evidence||24||Summarize the main findings including the strength of evidence for each main outcome; consider their relevance to key groups (e.g., health care providers, users, and policy makers).|
|Limitations||25||Discuss limitations at study and outcome level (e.g., risk of bias), and at review level (e.g., incomplete retrieval of identified research, reporting bias).|
|Conclusions||26||Provide a general interpretation of the results in the context of other evidence, and implications for future research.||Present extent and limits of applicability to disadvantaged populations of interest and describe the evidence and logic underlying those judgments.|
|26A||Provide implications for research, practice, or policy related to equity where relevant (e.g., types of research needed to address unanswered questions).|
|Funding||27||Describe sources of funding for the systematic review and other support (e.g., supply of data); role of funders for the systematic review.|
3.1 How to use this article?
3.1.1 Item 1: title
3.1.2 Item 2: abstract
- ○“We aimed to systematically assess current evidence for the association between socioeconomic position (SEP) and caries. We included studies investigating the association between social position (determined by own or parental educational or occupational background, or income) and caries prevalence, experience, or incidence” [].
- “Our primary outcome is the utilization of postnatal care (PNC) services, and determinants of concern are as follows: (1) socioeconomic status (SES) (e.g., income, education); (2) geographic determinants (e.g., distance to a health center, rural vs. urban residence); and (3) demographic determinants (e.g., ethnicity, immigration status)” [].
- ○“No strong evidence of differential effects was found for smoking restrictions in workplaces and public places, although those in higher occupational groups may be more likely to change their attitudes or behavior. Smoking restrictions in schools may be more effective in girls. Restrictions on sales to minors may be more effective in girls and younger children. Increasing the price of tobacco products may be more effective in reducing smoking among lower income adults and those in manual occupations, although there was also some evidence to suggest that adults with higher levels of education may be more price sensitive. Young people aged less than 25 years are also affected by price increases, with some evidence that boys and nonwhite young people may be more sensitive to price” [].
- ○“Conditional cash transfer programs have been the subject of some well-designed evaluations, which strongly suggest that they could be an effective approach to improving access to preventive services. Their replicability under different conditions—particularly in more deprived settings—is still unclear because they depend on effective primary health care, and mechanisms to disburse payments. Further rigorous evaluative research is needed, particularly where conditional cash transfers (CCTs) are being introduced in low-income countries, for example, in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia” [].
3.2 Introduction section
3.2.1 Item 3: rationale
- ○“CCT programs are justified on the grounds that demand-side subsidies are needed to address constraints and bottlenecks of service delivery. CCT programs usually aim to increase demand for preventive health services and education because these services have positive spillover effects that justify the expense. CCTs help overcome barriers to access of services. These programs address social equity concerns because CCT can help to “level the playing field” thus creating equal opportunities” [].
- ○“Many lay health worker programs aim to address inequity by providing services to underserved communities” [].
3.2.2 Item 4: objectives
- ○“For the purposes of this review, the term “disadvantaged” is taken to denote women whom the primary investigators considered to be of low SES or educationally disadvantaged, or who are less than the age of 20 years (children born to teenage mothers in the UK have been estimated to have a 63% increased likelihood of being born into poverty), or who are caring for children in single-parent households” [].
- ○“Parents with children up to the age of school entry and who were socially disadvantaged in respect of poverty, lone parenthood, or ethnic minority status” [].
- ○“We will retrieve studies implemented in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), as defined by The World Bank Group's classification… which study access to or utilization of PNC services by birthing women living in resource strained settings” [].
- ○“To determine the effectiveness of school feeding programs in improving physical and psychosocial health outcomes for low-income school children.” “To compare the effectiveness of school feeding programs for socioeconomically disadvantaged children and advantaged children” [].
- ○“To assess the impact on maternal and infant health and on infant development of programs offering home support in addition to the standard service for teenaged mothers (aged less than 20 years) who had recently given birth and who were socially or economically disadvantaged, for example, because they were poor, lived inner city, or were single parents” [].
3.3 Methods section
3.3.1 Item 6: eligibility criteria
- ○“Cross-sectional quantitative study designs, qualitative study designs, or a combination of the two (mixed-methods studies). Specifically, we included, first, any type of cross-sectional study design reporting quantitative data. Second, qualitatively based studies had to have used either individual interviews or focus group interviews to collect data about female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and used qualitative data analysis methods, such as thematic analysis, to be eligible for inclusion. Third, mixed-methods studies that incorporated both quantitative and qualitative components where the research design matched the nominated study designs were included. Both the quantitative and the qualitative components of the study were subjected to the same inclusion criteria as the mono-methods studies, and the study was only included when the inclusion criteria were met” [].
- ○“We included qualitative studies and studies using descriptive statistics which met the following criteria:
- 1.reported on interventions as identified as “farmer field schools,” although not necessarily the same interventions as those included in the review of effects (review question 1);
- 2.assessed determinants of service delivery quality, knowledge acquisition, adoption of technological improvements, diffusion, or sustainability (either directly or indirectly—for example, studies that were relevant to addressing barriers to and enablers of farmer field schools [FFSs] effectiveness)…” [].
- ○“Other smoking-related outcomes included compliance with age-of-sale legislation, density of advertising and vending machines, brand appeal, and awareness and receptivity to antismoking campaigns. This broad range of smoking-related outcomes was included to encompass the diverse ways in which tobacco control policies can influence youth smoking-related outcomes” [].
- ○“Changes in equity of access—increased access for disadvantaged groups or a reduction in gaps in coverage—could also be an important outcome measure. This required a preliminary analysis and categorization of the population of interest along a socioeconomic scale. We accepted any relevant methodology (e.g., wealth/asset index) provided it was rigorous and described in detail” [].
3.3.2 Item 7: information sources
- ○“We chose to restrict our search of electronic databases to the 20 databases that had produced the highest yield in the search for a previous systematic review on a related topic, the health effects of new roads.
- We developed our search syntax iteratively. We first conducted a scoping search with a provisional set of terms, retrieved the 100 most relevant abstracts, and then added additional indexing or text word terms used in those references to our search strategy. We then adapted the search syntax for each database or interface used. We did not limit the search using terms for study design.
- We decided not to attempt a “systematic” internet search. Instead, we used three quality assured gateway sites (http://www.omni.ac.uk, http://www.sosig.ac.uk, and http://www.eevl.ac.uk) and our own knowledge to generate lists of potentially relevant Web sites, from which we selected a purposive sample of 16 sites that contained bibliographies or searchable databases of documents. These represented a range of types of organization (academic, government, and voluntary), countries of origin (Canada, all the countries of the European Union, Norway, and the United States of America), and language of publication (Danish, English, French, Norwegian, and Swedish)” [].
- ○“We searched the following electronic databases for primary studies:
- The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), 2009, Issue 1, part of The Cochrane Library (www.thecochranelibrary.com) including the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care (EPOC) Group Specialized Register (searched March 3, 2009)
- MEDLINE, Ovid In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and MEDLINE, Ovid (1948 to present) (searched June 24, 2011)
- EMBASE, Ovid (1980 to 2009 Week 09) (searched March 2, 2009)
- PsycINFO, Ovid (1806 to February Week 4 2009) (searched March 4, 2009)
- EconLit, Ovid (1969 to February 2009) (searched March 5, 2009)
- Sociological Abstracts, CSA (1952 to present) (searched March 8, 2009)
- Social Services Abstracts, CSA (1979 to present) (searched March 8, 2009)
- LILACS (searched May 6, 2009)
- WHOLIS (searched May 7, 2009)
- World Bank
- Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED) (1975 to present) (searched September 8, 2010)
- Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) (1975 to present) (searched September 8, 2010). In addition, we selected relevant databases from the LMIC database list at http://epocoslo.cochrane.org. We did not search CINAHL or International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, so it is possible that studies relating to nursing or pharmaceuticals were missed. However, the general searches, including in Web sites focused on this topic, did not suggest that we had missed any relevant studies. We will add these databases when the review is updated” [].
3.3.3 Item 8: search
3.3.4 Item 11: data items
- ○“…extracted data on study design, description of the intervention (including process), details on participants (including age, sex, number in each group), length of intervention, definition of poor/low income, other sociodemographic variables, including place of residence, race/ethnicity, age, and nutritional status, critical appraisal (see the following), physical, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes. We had planned to extract data on cost-effectiveness, but found none. Where possible, we recorded effects by SEP” [].
3.3.5 Item 14: synthesis of results
- ○” Studies demonstrating an overall effect on anthropometric outcomes were initially categorized according to whether they were effective or not effective among lower SEP groups. Within these categories, we then analyzed studies to identify common characteristics between interventions, including the degree to which they addressed structural barriers to behavioral change; as noted earlier, particular structural barriers may be more or less prevalent among different SEP groups in a population” [].
3.3.6 Item 16: additional analyses
- ○“Effect modifiers, such as high/low energy, compliance, substitution, and duration of the intervention were examined. In addition, study quality was considered because studies of lower quality often show higher effect sizes than those of higher quality. For example, biased outcome assessment is possible if the outcome assessors are not blinded to study group. This review tabulated the effects for each study by sorting them according to these effect modifiers (type of study, blinding vs. unclear blinding, date of study, and high vs. low energy) (Kristjansson et al. 2007). The effect of school feeding on learning outcomes may also be affected by contextual factors as teacher absenteeism and availability of learning materials, both of which may be worse in more disadvantaged communities” [].
- ○“This study examined the influence of program implementation, program activities, program environment, and individual characteristics on welfare-to-work programs. The authors also considered the unemployment rate for each to determine whether the programs were affected by the availability of jobs in the area in which the program was implemented” [].
- Yousafzai A.K.
- Rasheed M.A.
- Rizvi A.
- Armstrong R.
- Bhutta Z.A.
3.4 Results section
3.4.1 Item 18: study characteristics
- ○“Of the 82 studies included in this review, 55 studies (67%) were conducted in six high-income countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. Forty-one of the 82 studies were conducted in the USA. Twelve studies (14.6%) were conducted in eight middle-income countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and South Africa). Fifteen trials (18.3%) were from 10 low-income countries (Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Jamaica, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Vietnam). In 59 studies, the intervention was delivered to patients based in their homes. Five interventions were based solely in a primary care facility…A further eight studies involved a combination of home, primary care, and community-based interventions. Four studies delivered the intervention mainly by telephone…while one implemented the intervention through community meetings. For five studies, other sites were used such as the workplace, churches, or homeless shelters” [].
- ○“Study participants had a mean age of 12.6 years and were described as of American Indian descent and representing the Pueblo, Navajo, Hopi, and Jicarilla Apache Indian Nations. The study setting was described as a boarding school exclusively for American Indian youth and promoting academic excellence” [].
3.4.2 Item 21: synthesis of results
- ○“This review sought to identify studies which had reported on sociodemographic characteristics known to be important from an equity perspective. For this process, the PROGRESS (place, race, occupation, gender, religion, education, SES, social status) framework was used. All studies reported the gender of participants at baseline. Four studies reported the race of participants and the level of education of parents … and two studies included information about the employment status of parents at baseline … included information on SES of participants at baseline based on parental income … reported some indicators related to place (the proportion of participating schools in a rural or urban region) and SES (the proportion of participating schools in an urban region which were also in an area considered to be underprivileged). When analyzing data on outcomes, only three studies analyzed results by any of the PROGRESS items. …analyzed outcomes by gender … analyzed outcomes by the same indicators of place and SES that were collected at baseline (these data are discussed previously)” [
|The impact of user fees on access to health services in low- and middle-income countries|
|Population: Anyone using any type of health service in low- and middle-income countries|
Settings: Burkina Faso, Kenya, Lesotho, Papua New Guinea
Intervention: Introducing or increasing user fees
Comparison: No fees
|Outcomes||Relative change in utilization||Number of studies||Quality of the evidence (GRADE)||Comments|
|Equity outcome—health utilization by quartile||Not applicable||1||⊕⊖⊖⊖|
|This study where quality improvements were introduced at the same time as user fees found an increase in utilization for poor groups. The authors did not report the results in a way that the relative change in utilization could be calculated.|
|Vitamin A supplementation for preventing morbidity and mortality in children aged between 6 mo to 5 yr|
|Patient or population: Children aged between 6 mo and 5 yr|
Intervention: Vitamin A supplementation
Comparison: Placebo or usual care
|Outcomes||Illustrative comparative risks (95% CI)||Relative effect (95% CI)||No. of participants (studies)||Quality of the evidence (GRADE)||Comments|
Follow-up: 48–104 wk
|Low-risk population||RR 0.72; 95% CI 0.57–0.91||90,951 (seven studies)||+++O moderate||Total number of participants reflects number randomized to studies. The analysis combined cumulative risk and risk per/1000-yr follow-up.|
|3 per 1,000||2 per 1,000 (2–3)|
|4 per 1,000b||3 per 1,000 (2–4)|
|9 per 1,000b||6 per 1,000 (5–8)|
|Summary equity impact of included studies and policies|
|Increases in price/tax of tobacco products||14||6||4||1||2||27|
|Smoke free—voluntary, regional, partial||1||1||19||0||4||25|
|Smoke free—compulsory, national, comprehensive||2||9||6||1||4||19|
|Mass media campaigns||3||2||5||2||6||18|
|Mass media campaigns—quitlines and nicotine replacement therapy||5||3||3||0||1||12|
|Controls on advertising, promotion, and marketing of tobacco||2||7||0||0||9|
|Population-level cessation support interventions||4||2||0||1||2||9|
|Settings-based interventions (community, workplace, hospital)||2||4||1||0||0||7|
3.4.3 Item 23: additional analyses
- ○“Effect modifiers were age and SES. Younger students had larger effects than older students and students with lower SES had larger effects than those with higher SES” [].
- ○“This review used weighted regression analyses to investigate which elements of the programs were independently related to bullying and victimization effect sizes. These analyses showed that the most important elements of the program that were related to a decrease in bullying were parent training/meetings and disciplinary methods. Of all the intensity and duration factors, the most important program elements were intensity for children and parent training/meetings” [].
3.5 Discussion section
3.5.1 Item 26: conclusions
- ○“This review included studies from high-income countries as well as lower-middle- and upper-middle-income countries, with five studies conducted in countries within the latter two groupings (Thailand, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico). This means that, although predominantly conducted within high-income settings, the findings from this review may be generalizable to a number of settings. A total of 19 studies specifically reported incorporating strategies to target socioeconomic and/or cultural diversity or disadvantage. One such study was conducted outside of the high-income country setting, in Chile, an upper-middle-income country. Of the remaining 18 studies, 7 studies conducted in the USA were of interventions targeting African American children and their communities, and another two studies targeted Native American communities. Other studies targeted participants of low SES, or were implemented in areas of social disadvantage. By far, the most common setting for interventions included in this review was schools (43 studies). Other interventions were (or included) home based (14 studies), community based (6 studies), or were set in a health service (2 studies) or care setting (2 studies). Eleven studies incorporated interventions across multiple settings” [
- ○“The body of evidence in this review provides some support for the hypothesis that obesity prevention interventions in children can be effective, and where examined, have not caused adverse outcomes or increased health inequalities. To this end, the direction of research and evaluation must move into how to implement effectively to scale, sustain the impacts over time, and ensure equitable outcomes. In addition, interventions need to be developed that can be embedded into ongoing practice and operating systems, rather than implementing interventions that are resource intensive and cannot be maintained long term” [
- ○“Future research should promote the development of effective interventions to enhance the online health literacy of consumers. Thus, there is a need for well-designed and rigorously conducted RCTs. These RCTs should involve diverse participants (regarding disease status, age, socioeconomic group, and gender) to analyze to what extent online health literacy reduces a barrier to using the internet for health information, or if socioeconomic group, gender, and age are more important in influencing Internet use (Livingstone 2006). Trials should be conducted in different settings (including low-, middle-, and high-income countries) and should examine interventions to enhance consumers online health literacy (search, appraisal, and use of online health information) like internet training courses” [].
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Funding: The development of the PRISMA-E 2012 reporting guideline was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (grant number KPE 114370) and the Rockefeller Foundation. D.M. is funded by a University Research Chair. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the article.
Competing Interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf (available by request to the corresponding author). The authors report no competing interests.
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