AbstractPurpose of review
Maternal and child malnutrition continues to disproportionately affect low and middle-income countries, contributing to high rates of morbidity, mortality, and suboptimal development. This article reviews evidence from recent systematic reviews and studies on the effectiveness of interventions to improve nutritional status in these especially vulnerable populations.Recent findings
Macronutrients provided to expectant mothers in the form of balanced protein energy supplements can improve fetal growth and birth outcomes, and new research suggests that lipid nutrient supplements can reduce both stunting and wasting in newborns. Maternal multiple micronutrient supplementations can also improve fetal growth, and reduce the risk of stillbirth. Nutrition education and supplementation provided to pregnant adolescents can also improve birth outcomes in this vulnerable population. New evidence is broadening our understanding of the development of gut microbiota in malnourished infants, and the possible protective role of breastmilk.Summary
The reviewed evidence on nutrition interventions reinforces the importance of packaging interventions delivered within critical windows throughout the life course: before conception, during pregnancy, and throughout childhood. Emerging evidence continues to refine our understanding of which populations and contexts benefit from which intervention components, which should allow for more nuanced and tailored approaches to the implementation of nutrition interventions.