Iodine deficiency during pregnancy and lactation may adversely affect fetal and infant development. Two initiatives were introduced in New Zealand to prevent deficiency: (1) mandatory fortification of bread with iodised salt; and (2) provision of a subsidised iodine supplement (150 μg) for all pregnant and breastfeeding women. The aim of this study was to assess iodine intake and status among a self-selecting sample of pregnant and lactating women in Palmerston North, both before and after the two initiatives. Pregnant and breastfeeding women were recruited before (n = 25 and 32; 2009) and after (n = 34 and 36; 2011) the initiatives. Iodine concentration was determined in 24-h urine and breast milk samples using inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Use of supplements and salt, knowledge of iodine deficiency, and awareness of the initiatives were determined by questionnaire. Median urine iodine concentration (UIC) was higher in 2011 compared with 2009 for both pregnant (85 and 47 μg L(-1) ) and breastfeeding (74 and 34 μg L(-1) ) participants; median UIC were below the cut-offs for adequate iodine status. However, in 2011, the estimated daily iodine intake during pregnancy was 217 μg day(-1) ; 74% of women achieved the Estimated Average Requirement. Knowledge of the initiatives was low, only 28-56% were aware of the need for iodine supplements and only 15-22% were aware of the mandatory addition of iodised salt to bread. Despite initiatives, UIC of these women indicates iodine deficiency, however, dietary intakes appear adequate. Ongoing surveillance of supplement use and iodine status among pregnant and lactating women throughout New Zealand is needed to fully assess the efficacy of the initiatives. Alternative strategies may require evaluation to ensure all women have adequate iodine during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Maternal psychological state is recognised to influence lactation success, largely by affecting milk ejection. Thus, increased psychological distress can disrupt milk flow and in the long-term, affect milk synthesis. Conversely, it is possible that milk ejection could be improved by using relaxation therapy during breastfeeding. We performed a systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions using relaxation therapy to improve breastfeeding outcomes and to assess the consequent impact(s) on infant growth and behaviour. A literature search was performed using the PRISMA guidelines where we included intervention studies (including nonrandomised controlled studies) using relaxation therapy in breastfeeding mothers during the post-natal period. Out of 147 identified records at the initial search, 5 studies were eligible, of which 3 were randomised controlled trials and 2 were nonrandomised or quasi-experimental studies. These studies were conducted in Europe, America, and India and included 311 mother-infant pairs, of which 64 infants were full-term and 247 were premature infants. Relaxation therapy was shown to increase milk yield in mothers of preterm infants in 2 randomised trials, however, the milk sampling protocol for these studies could be questioned. None of the studies investigated the consequent effects on infant outcomes. Overall, limited evidence was found on the effectiveness of relaxation therapy on breast milk composition and infant outcomes. Experimental studies with better standardisation of protocol and robust methodological design are needed to investigate the effectiveness of relaxation therapy on both breastfeeding and infant growth and behavioural outcomes.
The involvement of children in healthy meal preparation activities has emerged as a potential strategy to promote healthy eating behaviour among children. However, there is a lack of understanding of children's internal (psychosocial factors) and external factors (home food availability) that may support the practice of preparing healthy meals. This study aimed to determine children's psychosocial factors of healthy meal preparation within themselves and their external environment of home food availability as predictors for the practice of healthy meal preparation. Public schools (n = 8) from all three zones (Bangsar-Pudu, Keramat and Sentul) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were selected through stratified random sampling. Two hundred children aged 9-11 and their parents participated. Children's psychosocial factors towards healthy meal preparation and their home food availability were assessed through children and parents, respectively, using validated questionnaires. Majority of the schoolchildren (86.5%) had poor practice of healthy meal preparation. Increased attitude (r = 0.344, P < 0.001) and self-efficacy (r = 0.501, P < 0.001) of healthy meal preparation and the availability of fruits (r = 0.304, P < 0.001), vegetables (r = 0.243, P < 0.001) and healthful ready-to-eat foods (r = 0.227, P = 0.001) at home were positively correlated with the practice of preparing healthy meals. After adjusting for age, sex and monthly household income, increased self-efficacy (P < 0.001), availability of fruits (P = 0.01) and lower availability of less healthful ready-to-eat food (P = 0.01) were associated with better healthy meal preparation practices. Outcomes revealed that positive self-efficacy of healthy meal preparation, home food availability of fruits and less healthful alternatives were associated with the practice of healthy meal preparation and thus should be targeted in future health-promotion strategy.
Growth faltering under 5 years of age is unacceptably high worldwide, and even more children, while not stunted, fail to reach their growth potential. The time between conception and 2 years of age is critical for development. The period from 6 to 23 months, when complementary foods are introduced, coincides with a time when growth faltering and delayed neurocognitive developments are most common. Fortunately, this is also the period when diet exercises its greatest influence. Growing up in an adverse environment, with a deficient diet, as typically seen in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), hampers growth and development of children and prevents them from realising their full developmental and economic future potential. Sufficient nutrient availability and utilisation are paramount to a child's growth and development trajectory, especially in the period after breastfeeding. This review highlights the importance of essential amino acids (EAAs) in early life for linear growth and, likely, neurocognitive development. The paper further discusses signalling through mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) as one of the main amino acid (AA)-sensing hubs and the master regulator of both growth and neurocognitive development. Children in LMICs, despite consuming sufficient total protein, do not meet their EAA requirements due to poor diet diversity and low-quality dietary protein. AA deficiencies in early life can cause reductions in linear growth and cognition. Ensuring AA adequacy in diets, particularly through inclusion of nutrient-dense animal source foods from 6 to 23 months, is strongly encouraged in LMICs in order to compensate for less than optimal growth during complementary feeding.
Inadequate nutrient intakes are prevalent among many populations in sub-Saharan Africa and increasing fish consumption among pregnant/lactating women and children is one strategy to improve diets and address nutrient deficiencies. We report the nutrient content of two fish-based recipes-fish powder and fish chutney-that contain dried small fish available in local markets in Zambia. The contribution of a serving of each recipe to the recommended daily intakes of iron, zinc, calcium and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for pregnant/lactating women and children 6-24 months was calculated because these nutrients are commonly deficient in African diets. We found that one 10-g serving of fish powder provides 20% or more of the daily calcium recommendation and 37% or more of the daily DHA recommendation for both pregnant/lactating women and children. A 30-g serving of fish chutney provides over 40% of the daily calcium recommendation for pregnant women and over 50% for lactating women. Additionally, we investigated the nutrient density (nutrients per kilocalorie) of the fish powder and compared it with the nutrient density of a small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplement plus (SQ-LNS-plus). SQ-LNS-plus is designed to enhance children's diets by providing micronutrients and DHA. Fish powder is similar to SQ-LNS-plus in iron and zinc density and even higher in calcium and DHA density. Consuming dried small fish as part of a daily meal can be a viable strategy for combatting nutrient deficiencies in the first 1000 days.