Pregnant women in poor communities in Bangladesh who received multiple micronutrients, including iron and folic acid combined with early food supplementation, had substantially improved survival of their newborns, compared to women in a standard program that included usual food supplementation, according to a study in the May 16 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on Global Health.
"Maternal and child undernutrition is estimated to be the underlying cause of 3.5 million annual deaths and 35 percent of the total disease burden in children younger than 5 years. The potential long-term consequences of nutritional imbalance or insult in fetal or early life also include cognitive impairment and chronic diseases in adulthood. Effective child nutrition interventions are available to reduce stunting, prevent consequences of micronutrient deficiencies, and improve survival. The knowledge base is weaker regarding prenatal nutrition interventions of benefit for mother and offspring," according to background information in the article. "The proportion of malnourished mothers and children remains high in many areas of the world, especially in South Asia, where more than one-quarter of newborns have a low weight."
Lars Ake Persson, M.D., Ph.D., of Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, and colleagues conducted a study (the MINIMat trial) to examine whether a prenatal multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS), as well as an early invitation to a daily food supplementation, would increase maternal hemoglobin level at 30 weeks' gestation, birth weight, and infant survival, and that a combination of these interventions (early invitation with MMS) would further improve these outcomes. The randomized trial, conducted in Matlab, Bangladesh, included 4,436 pregnant women who were recruited between November 2001 and October 2003, with follow-up until June 2009. One-third of the women were illiterate and one-fifth experienced occasional or constant deficit in their
|Contact: Lars Ake Persson, M.D., Ph.D.|
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