Mother and Child Nutrition

Mother and Child Nutrition

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Farida Naz 

Nutrition is one of the invisible public health issues in most of the developing world including Pakistan. Particularly nutrition of pregnant mother and children needs more attention from government, NOGs and other organizations workings in the field of public health. According to the survey Action on Under-nutrition in Pakistan: Opportunities and Barriers, 15% pregnant mothers are underweighted and children under 5 year of age 43.7% are stunted growth in Pakistan. There are no legal laws for nutrition in Pakistan and neither doctors nor other health care staff give enough focus on importance of nutrition and balance diet. Most of the time people spend thousands of money on diseases related to nutrition because of lack of awareness about the importance of proper nutrition. In Pakistan the common reasons for widespread malnutrition in child and pregnant mother is due to lack of awareness and poverty. More than 40% people are illiterate in Pakistan and even some educated people have limited knowledge about the importance of nutrition and proper diet for a better health. 35% people in Pakistan are living below poverty line, which is a huge number. Since, there are multiple factors behind poverty which leads to many problems including malnutrition in ordinary people of developing world. It needs collaborative work of government and NGOs to trickle this huge problem to safeguard their people.

On 5th February, 2015 University of North Carolina School of Medicine published their research on the effects of breastfeeding on the amount and performance of intestinal bacteria which are beneficial in food digestion.  Researchers found that the baby’s diet before solid food has a huge influence on the composition, amount, diversity and stability of intestinal bacteria and gut microbiome. Researchers claim that, “We found that babies who are fed only breast milk have microbial communities that seem more ready for introduction of solid foods.”  Researchers also found that babies who are non-exclusively breastfed have such type of gut micobiome which contribute to more “stomach aches and colic.” The importance of gut bacteria is that it plays vital role in proper food digest and fight against pathogens or harmful bacteria which causes food poison and other gut diseases.

Furthermore, this study is also supporting other research work which has been done on the importance of breastfeed for children in their first six months. This study shows that exclusive breastfeeding is vital for smooth transition to solid foods in babies. The early diet helps to develop certain types of gut bacteria in babies, therefore; babies’ food should be select with care to ensure healthy life.

The contributor is a Final Year Public Health & Development Studies at the Asian University for Women, Dhaka.

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