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    275463

    Guiding principles for complementary feeding of the breastfed child.

    Dewey K

    Washington, D.C., Pan American Health Organization [PAHO], Division of Health Promotion and Protection, Food and Nutrition Program, [2002]. 37 p.

    Adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is fundamental to the development of each child’s full human potential. It is well recognized that the period from birth to two years of age is a “critical window” for the promotion of optimal growth, health and behavioral development. Longitudinal studies have consistently shown that this is the peak age for growth faltering, deficiencies of certain micronutrients, and common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea. After a child reaches 2 years of age, it is very difficult to reverse stunting that has occurred earlier. The immediate consequences of poor nutrition during these formative years include significant morbidity and mortality and delayed mental and motor development. In the long-term, early nutritional deficits are linked to impairments in intellectual performance, work capacity, reproductive outcomes and overall health during adolescence and adulthood. Thus, the cycle of malnutrition continues, as the malnourished girl child faces greater odds of giving birth to a malnourished, low birth weight infant when she grows up. Poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, coupled with high rates of infectious diseases, are the principal proximate causes of malnutrition during the first two years of life. For this reason, it is essential to ensure that caregivers are provided with appropriate guidance regarding optimal feeding of infants and young children. (excerpt)
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