Documenting large-scale programs to improve infant and young child feeding is key to facilitating progress in child nutrition

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA.
Food and nutrition bulletin (Impact Factor: 1.15). 09/2013; 34(3 Suppl):S143-5.
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: We reviewed interventions that affect maternal and child undernutrition and nutrition-related outcomes. These interventions included promotion of breastfeeding; strategies to promote complementary feeding, with or without provision of food supplements; micronutrient interventions; general supportive strategies to improve family and community nutrition; and reduction of disease burden (promotion of handwashing and strategies to reduce the burden of malaria in pregnancy). We showed that although strategies for breastfeeding promotion have a large effect on survival, their effect on stunting is small. In populations with sufficient food, education about complementary feeding increased height-for-age Z score by 0.25 (95% CI 0.01-0.49), whereas provision of food supplements (with or without education) in populations with insufficient food increased the height-for-age Z score by 0.41 (0.05-0.76). Management of severe acute malnutrition according to WHO guidelines reduced the case-fatality rate by 55% (risk ratio 0.45, 0.32-0.62), and recent studies suggest that newer commodities, such as ready-to-use therapeutic foods, can be used to manage severe acute malnutrition in community settings. Effective micronutrient interventions for pregnant women included supplementation with iron folate (which increased haemoglobin at term by 12 g/L, 2.93-21.07) and micronutrients (which reduced the risk of low birthweight at term by 16% (relative risk 0.84, 0.74-0.95). Recommended micronutrient interventions for children included strategies for supplementation of vitamin A (in the neonatal period and late infancy), preventive zinc supplements, iron supplements for children in areas where malaria is not endemic, and universal promotion of iodised salt. We used a cohort model to assess the potential effect of these interventions on mothers and children in the 36 countries that have 90% of children with stunted linear growth. The model showed that existing interventions that were designed to improve nutrition and prevent related disease could reduce stunting at 36 months by 36%; mortality between birth and 36 months by about 25%; and disability-adjusted life-years associated with stunting, severe wasting, intrauterine growth restriction, and micronutrient deficiencies by about 25%. To eliminate stunting in the longer term, these interventions should be supplemented by improvements in the underlying determinants of undernutrition, such as poverty, poor education, disease burden, and lack of women's empowerment.
    The Lancet 03/2008; 371(9610):417-40. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61693-6 · 45.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To estimate the global burden of malnutrition and highlight data on child feeding practices and coverage of key nutrition interventions. Linear mixed-effects modeling was used to estimate prevalence rates and numbers of underweight and stunted children according to United Nations region from 1990 to 2010 by using surveys from 147 countries. Indicators of infant and young child feeding practices and intervention coverage were calculated from Demographic and Health Survey data from 46 developing countries between 2002 and 2008. In 2010, globally, an estimated 27% (171 million) of children younger than 5 years were stunted and 16% (104 million) were underweight. Africa and Asia have more severe burdens of undernutrition, but the problem persists in some Latin American countries. Few children in the developing world benefit from optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. Fewer than half of infants were put to the breast within 1 hour of birth, and 36% of infants younger than 6 months were exclusively breastfed. Fewer than one-third of 6- to 23-month-old children met the minimum criteria for dietary diversity, and only ∼50% received the minimum number of meals. Although effective health-sector-based interventions for tackling childhood undernutrition are known, intervention-coverage data are available for only a small proportion of them and reveal mostly low coverage. Undernutrition continues to be high and progress toward reaching Millennium Development Goal 1 has been slow. Previously unrecognized extremely poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices and lack of comprehensive data on intervention coverage require urgent action to improve child nutrition.
    PEDIATRICS 11/2011; 128(6):e1418-27. DOI:10.1542/peds.2011-1392 · 5.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reviews of programmes in Bangladesh, Benin, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Uzbekistan sought to identify health policy and programmatic factors that influenced breastfeeding practices during a 10 to 15 year period. Exclusive breastfeeding rates and trends were analysed in six countries in general and from an equity perspective in two of them. Success factors and challenges were identified in countries with improved and stagnated rates respectively. The disaggregated data analysis showed that progress may be unequal in population subgroups, but if appropriately designed and implemented, a programme can become a "health equalizer" and eliminate discrepancies among different subgroups. Success requires commitment, supportive policies, and comprehensiveness of programmes for breastfeeding promotion, protection and support. Community-based promotion and support was identified as a particularly important component. Although health workers' training on infant feeding support and counselling was prioritized, further improvement of interpersonal counselling and problem solving skills is needed. More attention is advised for pre-service education, including a stronger focus on clinical practice, to ensure knowledge and skills among all health workers. Large-scale communication activities played a significant role, but essential steps were often underemphasized, including identifying social norms and influencing factors, ensuring community participation, and testing of approaches and messages.
    Nutrients 08/2012; 4(8):990-1014. DOI:10.3390/nu4080990 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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