Maternal nutrition and optimal infant feeding practices: executive summary1–5

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Abstract

Much recent attention has been paid to the effect of the fetal environment on not only healthy birth outcomes but also long-term health outcomes, including a role as an antecedent to adult diseases. A major gap in our understanding of these relations, however, is the effect of maternal nutrition and nutrient transport on healthy fetal growth and development. In addition, this gap precludes evidencebased recommendations about how to best feed preterm infants. The biological role of the mother and the effect of her nutritional status on infant feeding extend to postnatal infant feeding practices. Currently, evidence is incomplete about not only the composition of human milk, but also the maternal nutritional needs to support extended lactation and the appropriate nutrient composition of foods that will be used to complement breastfeeding at least through the first year of life. Consequently, a conference, organized by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, and the US Department of Agriculture Children's Nutrition Research Center was held to explore current knowledge and develop a research agenda to address maternal nutrition and infant feeding practices. These proceedings contain presentations about the effect of maternal nutrition and the placental environment on fetal growth and birth outcomes, as well as issues pertaining to feeding preterm and fullterm infants. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85(suppl):577S-83S.

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