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Issue 3, September 2010: Technical brief on "Why stunting matters," updates from World Breastfeeding Week, and more...

Welcome to the third edition of the Alive & Thrive (A&T) newsletter. This issue features the release of our technical brief on stunting, highlights from World Breastfeeding Week, and the third Abstract Digest, with summaries of recent infant and young child feeding research.

Technical Brief: Why stunting matters

Our second technical brief discusses the negative effects of stunting and the steps we can take to prevent them.

Click here to read technical brief

In this photo: The child on the left is 26 months old and the one on the right is 52 months old. Photo by Mercedes de Onis, Department of Nutrition, World Health Organization


World Breastfeeding Week 2010

The Alive & Thrive advocacy team participated in efforts to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2010 in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Viet Nam. In coordination with local partners and government agencies, each country used a variety of approaches and tools-ranging from media outreach to seminars-to promote and generate support for improved breastfeeding practices. The theme, "Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps, the Baby-Friendly Way," focused on reaching out to doctors and health workers to promote breastfeeding.

Find out more about the week's events

Featured Video: An Alive & Thrive advocacy team member in Ethiopia shares highlights from the week.

Watch the short video

Abstract Digest

In each issue of Abstract Digest, Alive & Thrive summarizes recently published research, highlighting key information about infant and young child feeding practices as well as program implications. Clicking on the title will take you to the longer A&T summary.

Ready-to-use therapeutic foods more effective at treating moderate acute malnutrition compared to corn/soy blend

In a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of a ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) versus a corn/soy-blend with oil and sugar, children in Niger with moderate acute malnutrition who received RUTF had a higher average weight gain and recovery rate, a shorter length of stay in the supplementary feeding program, and a lower proportion of transfers to the in-patient Therapeutic Feeding Centers.

Early breastfeeding difficulties are experienced by first-time mothers in Peru and may be prevented by addressing modifiable risk factors

Although breastfeeding is nearly universal in Peru, early lactation problems such as sub-optimal infant suckling, delayed onset of full milk production, and excessive infant weight loss are not uncommon among first-time mothers. Risk factors for these difficulties include Caesarean-section delivery, newborn health status, low breastfeeding frequency on the first day postpartum, and maternal overweight.

Kangaroo mother care reduces neonatal mortality among preterm babies

Meta-analyses comparing Kangaroo mother care (KMC) with standard care showed that KMC substantially reduces mortality and morbidity due to preterm birth among infants born in hospitals in low- or middle-income settings.

Two food-assisted maternal and child health and nutrition programs in Haiti increased breastfeeding rates and reduced child stunting rates

Haitian children living in areas receiving food-assisted nutrition and health programs had higher breastfeeding and vaccination rates and lower rates of stunting compared to matched children from the Demographic and Health Survey. In settings where it is unethical or impractical to randomize participants to a control group, a matching-based methodology for evaluating the impact of interventions may be useful.

An educational intervention on complementary feeding practices in rural China improved caregiver behaviors and infant growth

In a cluster randomized controlled trial in rural China with an educational intervention focused on improving complementary feeding practices, infants in the intervention group were fed a greater variety of foods, consumed more vegetables and animal source foods, had more meals per day and gained more weight and length than infants in the control group.