Daniel W Sellen

Daniel W Sellen
University of Toronto | U of T · Department of Anthropology

MA, PhD

About

163
Publications
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Publications

Publications (163)
Article
Full-text available
The interaction between infant feeding and maternal lactational physiology influences female inter-birth intervals and mediates maternal reproductive trade-offs. We investigated variation in feeding development in 72 immature wild chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii ) at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda, and made inferences about matern...
Article
Increasing job market demand for and availability of Canadian and U.S. global academic health programs in post-secondary education increases student demand to participate in internationally based fieldwork, while supportive resources remain weakly developed. Previous studies indicate provisions to protect the health, safety, and well-being of women...
Article
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Objectives: To examine whether use of expressed human milk in the first two weeks postpartum is associated with cessation of human milk feeding and non-exclusive human milk feeding up to 6 months. Design: Pooled data from two prospective cohort studies SETTING: Three Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) sites serving vulnerable families in T...
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Introduction: South Africa's evolving burden of disease is challenging due to a persistent infectious disease, burgeoning obesity, most notably among women and rising rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). With two thirds of women presenting at their first antenatal visit either overweight or obese in urban South Africa (SA), the preconception...
Article
Over the last two decades, many African countries have undergone dietary and nutrition transitions fueled by globalization, rapid urbanization and development. These changes have altered African food environments and subsequently, dietary behaviors, including food acquisition and consumption. Dietary patterns associated with the nutrition transitio...
Article
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Over the last two decades, many African countries have undergone dietary and nutrition transitions fueled by globalization, rapid urbanization and development. These changes have altered African food environments and subsequently, dietary behaviors, including food acquisition and consumption. Dietary patterns associated with the nutrition transitio...
Article
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Maternal lactational investment can affect female reproductive rates and offspring survival in mammals and can be biased towards infants of one sex. We compared estimates of lactation effort among mothers, assessed as their potential milk contribution to age-specific infant diets (mother-infant differences in fecal stable nitrogen isotopes, δ ¹⁵ N)...
Article
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Background The Food, Environment, and Health (FEH) program of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) aims to improve the health of low- and middle-income country populations by generating evidence, innovations, and policies that reduce the health and economic burdens of preventable chronic and infectious diseases. A predominant focus...
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Introduction The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) supports community organizations to provide maternal–infant health services for socially/economically vulnerable women. As part of our research program exploring opportunities to provide postnatal breastfeeding support through the CPNP, we investigated the sociodemographic and psychosocial c...
Article
Introduction Le Programme canadien de nutrition prénatale (PCNP) soutient les organismes communautaires qui fournissent des services de santé maternelle et infantile aux femmes vulnérables sur le plan social et économique. Dans le cadre de notre programme de recherche visant à explorer les possibilités en matière de soutien à l’allaitement par le b...
Article
This paper examines the application of Complexity Theory constructs to a research-for-development program evaluation and presents an overview of the implications and promising approaches for evaluating complex programs. We discuss lessons learned from an evaluation completed for the International Development Research Centre's Food, Environment and...
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The conditions in which adolescent girls mature shape their health, development and nutrition. Nutrient requirements increase to support growth during adolescence, but gaps between consumption and requirements exist in low- and middle-income countries. We aimed to identify and quantify the relationship between dietary intake and diverse social dete...
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Background: This study describes the rationale, adaptation, and final protocol of a project developed to address the increase in obesity and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NR-NCDs) in Ghana. Code-named the Measurement, Evaluation, Accountability, and Leadership Support for NCDs (MEALS4NCDs) project, it aims to measure and support publ...
Article
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Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for 6 months is a global public health goal, but measuring its achievement as a marker of population breastmilk feeding practices is insufficient. Additional measures are needed to understand variation in non-EBF practices and inform intervention priorities. We collected infant feeding data prospectively at seven time...
Article
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Background Only one-third of Canadian infants are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life as recommended. Skilled lactation support in the early postpartum period is one strategy for improving breastfeeding outcomes by building breastfeeding self-efficacy and resolving difficulties. Access to such support is limited among vulnerable wo...
Conference Paper
Objectives Pumping and feeding expressed breastmilk (EBM) in the early postpartum period are common but may not support longer-term breastfeeding outcomes. Our objectives were to examine in a cohort of vulnerable mothers of term-born infants: i) the prevalence of EBM feeding; and ii) associations between EBM use at two weeks and any and exclusive b...
Article
School-aged children and adolescents have complex interactions with their food environments—the point of engagement of individuals with the food system—and are influenced by a diversity of individual, household and organizational factors. Although a wide range of methods have been proposed to define, monitor and evaluate food environments, few are...
Article
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Previously published data from our group and others demonstrate that human milk oligosaccharide (HMOs), as well as milk and infant fecal microbial profiles, vary by geography. However, little is known about the geographical variation of other milk-borne factors, such as lactose and protein, as well as the associations among these factors and microb...
Article
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMO), the third most abundant component of human milk, are thought to be important contributors to infant health. Studies have provided evidence that geography, stage of lactation, and Lewis and secretor blood groups are associated with HMO profile. However, little is known about how variation across the genome may infl...
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Recent work has demonstrated the existence of large inter-individual and inter-population variability in the microbiota of human milk from healthy women living across variable geographical and socio-cultural settings. However, no studies have evaluated the impact that variable sequencing approaches targeting different 16S rRNA variable regions may...
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Background In Canada, 91% of all mothers initiate breastfeeding, but 40–50% stop by 6 months and only 34% breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, with lower rates among socially and/or economically vulnerable women. The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) aims to support breastfeeding among vulnerable women, but there is no formal framework or fu...
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The effective implementation of large-scale nutrition interventions in Africa is an ongoing challenge. This scoping review identifies and explores the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of large-scale nutrition interventions in the African region. We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, ERIC, and Web of Science using search terms focused s...
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Introduction The ‘Developmental Origins of Health and Disease’ hypothesis suggests that a healthy trajectory of growth and development in pregnancy and early childhood is necessary for optimal health, development and lifetime well-being. The purpose of this paper is to present the protocol for a randomised controlled trial evaluating a preconceptio...
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Breastfeeding provides defense against infectious disease during early life. The mechanisms underlying this protection are complex but likely include the vast array of immune cells and components, such as immunoglobulins, in milk. Simply characterizing the concentrations of these bioactives, however, provides only limited information regarding thei...
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Introduction The Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative is an international consortium comprising four harmonised but independently powered trials to evaluate whether an integrated intervention starting preconceptionally will reduce non-communicable disease risk in their children. This paper describes the protocol of the India study. Methods and ana...
Preprint
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Background Like most other countries, Ghana is experiencing an increase in obesity and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NR-NCDs). The need to adopt effective and comprehensive interventions/approaches to address this burden at global, regional, and national levels has been recognized. However, there is limited contextualized evidence on...
Article
Premasticated food transfer, when an individual partially breaks down food through chewing and feeds it to another individual, usually mouth-to-mouth, is described widely across human cultures. This behavior plays an important role in modern humans’ strategy of complementary feeding, which involves supplementing maternal milk in infant diets with p...
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Objectives Nutrition International (NI) sought to standardize and add novel indicators to the multiple coverage surveys conducted each year on maternal, newborn, infant and child nutrition programs to assure quality and timely, gender-related data that meets next-generation monitoring needs. Methods In collaboration with Campbell Collaboration (CC...
Article
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Variation in the durations of exclusive breastfeeding (exBF) and any breastfeeding (anyBF) is associated with socioecological factors. This plasticity in breastfeeding behavior appears adaptive, but the mechanisms involved are unclear. With this concept in mind, we investigated whether durations of exBF and anyBF in a rural Maya population covary w...
Article
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The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) provides a variety of health and nutrition supports to vulnerable mothers and strongly promotes breastfeeding but does not have a formal framework for postnatal lactation support. Breastfeeding duration and exclusivity rates in Canada fall well below global recommendations, particularly among socially an...
Article
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Background: Behavior change communication (BCC) to improve health and caring practices is an integral component of efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). Mobile phones are widely available in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), presenting new opportunities for BCC delivery. There is need for delivery science to determin...
Article
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There is a dearth of research that aims to understand graduate students' lived experience of global health practice. Difficulties, distress, and trauma occur before and after these students' placement abroad, and they often increase when returning home. Moreover, few articles address the increased vulnerabilities faced by women, such as sexual viol...
Article
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The ways in which global health students experience trauma/distress while conducting global health fieldwork is understudied. No identifiable literature addresses the risks to students’ mental well-being, although physical wellness checks exist. Importantly, global health practitioners are at greater risk than the general population for moral distr...
Article
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Mobile health (mHealth) applications have been developed for community health workers (CHW) to help simplify tasks, enhance service delivery and promote healthy behaviours. These strategies hold promise, particularly for support of pregnancy and childbirth in low-income countries (LIC), but their design and implementation must incorporate CHW clien...
Article
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Objectives Establishment and development of the infant gastrointestinal microbiome (GIM) varies cross‐culturally and is thought to be influenced by factors such as gestational age, birth mode, diet, and antibiotic exposure. However, there is little data as to how the composition of infants' households may play a role, particularly from a cross‐cult...
Article
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Background: Microbial communities in human milk and those in feces from breastfed infants vary within and across populations. However, few researchers have conducted cross-cultural comparisons between populations, and little is known about whether certain “core” taxa occur normally within or between populations and whether variation in milk microbi...
Article
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Background About half of births in rural Tanzania are assisted by skilled providers. Point-of-care mobile phone applications hold promise in boosting job support for community health workers aiming to ensure safe motherhood through increased facility delivery awareness, access and uptake. We conducted a controlled comparison to evaluate a smartphon...
Article
Objectives: Infant feeding guidelines are important public health strategies to promote optimal growth, development and chronic disease prevention, but their effectiveness is contingent upon families' ability to adhere to them. Little is known of adherence to guidelines among nutritionally vulnerable infants, specifically those born very-low-birth...
Article
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Human milk provides a very wide range of nutrients and bioactive components, including immune factors, human milk oligosaccharides, and a commensal microbiota. These factors are essential for interconnected processes including immunity programming and the development of a normal infant gastrointestinal microbiome. Newborn immune protection mostly r...
Article
Background: Human milk is a complex fluid comprised of myriad substances, with one of the most abundant substances being a group of complex carbohydrates referred to as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). There has been some evidence that HMO profiles differ in populations, but few studies have rigorously explored this variability. Objectives: We t...
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Alloparenting, when individuals other than the mother assist with infant care, can vary between and within populations and has potential fitness costs and benefits for individuals involved. We investigated the effects of alloparenting on the speed with which infants were weaned, a potential component of maternal fitness because of how it can affect...
Article
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Objectives: The causes of variation in breastfeeding duration in humans are poorly understood, but life history factors related to maternal energetics drive much of the variation in lactation duration in nonhuman animals. With this in mind, we investigated whether four energy-related factors influence variation in breastfeeding duration in a non-i...
Article
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Objectives: Determining nutritional development in wild primates is difficult through observations because confirming dietary intake is challenging. Physiological measures are needed to determine the relative contributions of maternal milk and other foods at different ages, and time of weaning. We used fecal stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (δ(...
Article
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Background: The causes of stunting are complex but likely include prenatal effects, inadequate postnatal nutrient intake, and recurrent infections. Low-birth-weight (LBW) infants are at high risk of stunting. More than 25% of live births in low- and middle-income countries are at full term with low birth weight (FT-LBW). Evidence on the efficacy o...
Conference Paper
Community health workers (CHW) are touted as a cornerstone of primary healthcare delivery in resource-constrained settings due to their linking of individuals to formal healthcare systems. However, in an era of emphasis on “patient-centered care” within the global health community, focus on the well being of frontline health workers is often an aft...
Conference Paper
Ecological factors such as body size and food availability appear to account for much among-species variation in duration of exclusive lactation. But, these relationships between duration of exclusive breastfeeding and ecology are often absent in human data. That humans do not always follow ecological patterns with respect to duration of exclusive...
Article
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Infant feeding and caregiving by adolescent girls and young women in rural Bangladesh remains relatively understudied despite high potential vulnerability of younger mothers and their children due to poverty and high rates of early marriage and childbearing. This key knowledge gap may hamper the effectiveness of maternal, infant and child health in...
Conference Paper
Ensuring access to safe facility-based delivery (FBD) services is a challenge in rural Tanzania, where 50% of women deliver at home, without assistance from trained clinicians. If properly supported, community health workers (CHW) may improve women’s demand for and uptake of FBD. Point-of-care mobile phone applications have potential to aid CHW wit...
Conference Paper
Rationale: Frontline community health workers (CHW) have immense potential to improve maternal, newborn and child heath (MNCH), particularly in hard-to-reach communities. Their performance, however, can be limited by weak delivery of appropriate training, unsupportive supervision and ineffective job aids. The emerging field of mobile health (mHea...
Conference Paper
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We often think of mothers either as being fully committed to providing for the needs of each of their children or at least as striving to divide resources equally among their children. But, there are reasons derived from evolutionary theory to expect maternal and child interests not to be completely aligned [1]. A mother and child share approximate...
Article
To examine breast-feeding and complementary feeding practices during the first 6 months of life among Norwegian infants of Somali and Iraqi family origin. A cross-sectional survey was performed during March 2013-February 2014. Data were collected using a semi-quantitative FFQ adapted from the second Norwegian national dietary survey among infants i...
Article
Current versions of Canada's Food Guide (CFG) aim to inform a culturally diverse population, but it is not known how intended audiences from different cultural and linguistic groups within Canada's diverse population understand and apply its messages. We analyzed data from qualitative interviews conducted with 32 newcomer mothers of children aged 1...
Article
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We aimed to determine the prevalence of, and factors associated with, breastfeeding initiation in Canadian Inuit. We used data from the Nunavut Inuit Child Health Survey, a population-based, cross-sectional survey conducted in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Inuit children aged 3-5 years in 2007 or 2008 were randomly selected for the survey. Sel...