Maternal, infant and young child nutrition: where we are now and where we want to go
Presented by Peggy Papathakis on Sept. 19, 2010 as part of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) symposium at the National Nutrition Congress in South Africa.
Only six countries are on track to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 of a two-thirds reduction in under 5 mortality, and none are on track to achieve MDG 5 to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality. Undernutrition is largely preventable cause of over a third – 3.5 million –of all child deaths. Undernutrition encompasses: stunting (low weight for height) or chronic undernutrition, wasting (low weight for height) or acute undernutrion, and deficiencies of micronutrients. It is an important determinant of maternal and child health and it impacts human capital. Good nutrition in the first 1000 days (conception to age 2) leads to adults that are taller, stronger, more intelligent, and more economically productive. Poverty, lack of education, health care costs and gender discrimination all affect maternal, infant and young child health. This presentation focuses on key multi-sector education and low-technology interventions such as exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate complementary feeding, micronutrient supplementation that impact the health and nutritional status of women, infants and young children.