Preventing maternal malnutrition: Evidence, challenges, and opportunities

Washington, DC, August 16, 2011

Preventing maternal malnutrition can have a tremendous impact on a child’s chances of surviving and living a healthy life. Yet health and nutrition programs sometimes overlook the maternal dietary practices and behaviors that are critical to improving nutrition and shaping a child’s future during the first 1,000 days. The project held a panel discussion to share findings from three IYCN studies revealing insights on dietary practices of mothers. Panelists discussed links between maternal and child nutrition and explored barriers, challenges, and solutions for programs to prevent malnutrition of mothers. 


How do maternal dietary practices influence child feeding and nutritional status?
Melissa Daniels, PhD, MPH, presented findings from IYCN’s descriptive analysis, using Demographic and Health Survey data, on maternal dietary practices in three countries. She discussed the relationship between maternal diets and child diets and shared recommendations for using maternal dietary intake as an indicator for determining the nutritional impact of household food security programs. View the PowerPoint presentation.
Understanding challenges and opportunities for improved maternal nutrition
Anita Shankar, PhD, shared a summary of qualitative research findings from nine IYCN country programs. She discussed common sociocultural barriers to improved nutrition and made recommendations for improving maternal nutrition programming. View the PowerPoint presentation.
Barriers to anemia prevention among pregnant women in Madagascar
Jennifer Burns, MSPH, presented results from a Barrier Analysis that revealed insights on maternal dietary practices, mothers’ beliefs about anemia, and factors preventing pregnant women from taking iron-folic acid supplements to prevent anemia. View the PowerPoint presentation.