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New Research Shows Nutrition Programs Targeting Pregnancy and First 24 Months of Life Dramatically Improve Child Survival and Overall Health
Date:1/16/2008

Maternal and Child Undernutrition Largest Contributor to Global Disease Burden

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A landmark series of research papers on maternal and child undernutrition published in the leading international medical journal The Lancet today shows that children will suffer irreversible damage into their adult life if proper nutrition interventions are not delivered before the age of 24 months. The Lancet's Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition reviews and analyzes the effectiveness and potential impact of nutrition-related interventions and policies in developing countries, and recommends actions to accelerate efforts to improve maternal and child undernutrition.

The five-part series aims to draw international attention to the critical role of early nutrition in the health and development of children and the economic growth of nations. The Series follows a number of earlier important series from The Lancet, such as those on child survival and neonatal health that have shaped policy and action.

"This latest Lancet Series concludes, not surprisingly perhaps, that the international nutrition system is broken," said Dr. Richard Horton, The Lancet editor-in-chief, in his series editorial. "Leadership is absent, resources are too few, capacity is fragile, and emergency response systems are urgently needed. An agency, donor, or political leader needs to step up to this challenge. There is a fabulous opportunity right now for someone to do so. But who?"

New data links poor nutrition to more than 3.5 million child deaths each year--more than 9,500 every day

The Lancet papers quantify the prevalence of maternal and child undernutrition and consider the short-term consequences in terms of deaths and disease burden, as measured by Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), and long-term educational and economic effects and associations with adult chronic diseases.

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SOURCE The Lancet
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