Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
Impact of improved cookstoves on women’s and child health in low and middle income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Objectives Improved biomass cookstoves may help reduce the substantial global burden of morbidity and mortality due to household air pollution (HAP) that disproportionately affects women and children in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of (quasi-)experimental studies identified from 13 electronic databases (last update: 6 April 2018), reference and citation searches and via expert consultation.

Setting LMICs

Participants Women and children

Interventions Improved biomass cookstoves

Main outcome measures Low birth weight (LBW), preterm birth, perinatal mortality, paediatric acute respiratory infections (ARIs) and COPD among women.

Results We identified 53 eligible studies, including 24 that met prespecified design criteria. Improved cookstoves had no demonstrable impact on paediatric lower ARIs (three studies; 11 560 children; incidence rate ratio (IRR)=1.02 (95% CI 0.84 to 1.24)), severe pneumonia (two studies; 11 061 children; IRR=0.88 (95% CI 0.39 to 2.01)), LBW (one study; 174 babies; OR=0.74 (95% CI 0.33 to 1.66)) or miscarriages, stillbirths and infant mortality (one study; 1176 babies; risk ratio (RR) change=15% (95% CI –13 to 43)). No (quasi-)experimental studies assessed preterm birth or COPD. In observational studies, improved cookstoves were associated with a significant reduction in COPD among women: two studies, 9757 participants; RR=0.74 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.90). Reductions in cough (four studies, 1779 participants; RR=0.72 (95% CI 0.60 to 0.87)), phlegm (four studies, 1779 participants; RR=0.65 (95% CI 0.52 to 0.80)), wheezing/breathing difficulty (four studies; 1779 participants; RR=0.41 (95% CI 0.29 to 0.59)) and conjunctivitis (three studies, 892 participants; RR=0.58 (95% CI 0.43 to 0.78)) were observed among women.

Conclusion Improved cookstoves provide respiratory and ocular symptom reduction and may reduce COPD risk among women, but had no demonstrable child health impact.

Registration PROSPERO: CRD42016033075

  • COPD epidemiology
  • paediatric lung disaese
  • pneumonia
  • clinical epidemiology

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Airwaves
    The Triumvirate