Sep 22, 2022
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Proper nutrition in the first 1000 days of life is critical

Proper nutrition in the first 1000 days of life is critical

The new initiative is based on the assumption that the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday are crucial and set the stage for the rest of a person’s life, and aims to provide support for improved maternal health and optimal growth and development of children.

In a special scientific series to be published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) on October 26, 2022, an international panel of experts will present the state of the science, research needs, and policy agenda for optimal maternal and infant nutrition in the United States.

According to Dr. Hamner, the average intake of saturated fat, sugar and sodium is higher than recommended, 75% of babies are not fed exclusively on human milk in the first six months of life, and most children aged 12-23 months do not consume the recommended amount of vegetables, fruits and dairy products.

“Advancing efforts related to research and surveillance, programming and communications, and dissemination of information can help positively and equitably impact the health and well-being of mothers and children,” writes Dr. Hamner.

Another study, authored by Blythe Thomas, director of the 1000 Days Initiative, outlines a plan that integrates maternal and young child nutrition policies and systems, highlighting four sectors where urgent action is needed – early childhood development, health care, philanthropy and relations with the US government.

“Achieving food security within the first 1,000 days will ultimately require multisectoral collaboration, advocacy and action to fully support families where they live, learn, work, play and congregate,” Thomas explained.

In a third paper, Dr. Kofi Essel, community pediatrician at the Children’s National Hospital, argues that changing the paradigm of the importance of nutrition and dietary advice is critical to improving clinical care.

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