INTRODUCTION The strong relation between maternal smoking and maternal secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure and the growth of newborn infants has been proven. However, the effect of SHS on growth outcomes of older children is not well defined. Through a systematic literature review, we sought to determine whether a relationship exists between SHS exposure and growth outcomes of children up to 8 years of age. METHODS A systematic review was performed, including articles published between 2004-2019, related to SHS exposure (prenatal and postnatal) and children's growth (weight, length/height, and head circumference). The relevant articles were identified from Science Direct, ProQuest, Sage Publication, Scopus, Wiley Online Library, CINAHL Plus with Full Text (via EBSCOhost) and Google search. RESULTS Seventeen articles were identified, of which three categories of growth measurements were extracted, comprising weight (weight, WAZ, WHZ, and BMI), height (height/length and HAZ) and head circumference. SHS exposure both pre or postnatally was inversely associated with weight (deficit in weight, risk of underweight, risk of wasting) and height (lower length and risk of stunting) and elevated BMI of children. Furthermore, prenatal SHS exposure was associated with a lower head circumference. CONCLUSIONS The current review identified that exposure to SHS may be associated with adverse growth outcomes in children. It is crucial that active smokers, specifically those who live with children or with a pregnant partner, are made aware of the potential effects of SHS exposure on non-smokers. Further assessment of the association between exposure to SHS and other growth outcomes in other age groups is needed.
- Secondhand smoke