Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), 19-21 November 2014

Child and Maternal Nutrition

In the past two decades, child and maternal malnutrition has declined almost by half. Yet, child undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies still impose the greatest nutrition related health burden at the global level. Undernutrition in children often results from poor quality diets in terms of variety, nutrient content and food safety during infancy and childhood combined with poor access to health services, sanitation and social care. For pregnant women, hunger and malnutrition, especially deficiencies of iron and calcium, contribute substantially to maternal deaths. Children who are undernourished are more susceptible to infectious diseases and their cognitive development is compromised, hindering their performance in school and consequently their future job and income opportunities. Poor maternal and child nutrition is also the primary pathway by which poverty is transmitted from one generation to the next: stunted girls—whose height growth is slowed owing to poor nutrition—grow up to be short in stature as adults, and short maternal height is one of the strongest predictors for low birth weight children and future childhood stunting.

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