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Action to improve infant and young child feeding in nutrition and child health programmes

A mother prepares porridge from soy-fortified bulgur in Guatemala

Proceedings of meeting1

Over 50 researchers, programme implementers, infant feeding experts and representatives of WHO and UNICEF headquarters departments and regional offices gathered in Geneva in October 2008, to discuss how to fill the gap between the progress that has been made in defining principles for appropriate feeding for infants and young children from 6 to 23 months and translating these into specific policies and programmes.

Participants recognised that there are not enough examples of well-documented, largescale programmes that have successfully improved feeding practices in children 6-23 months of age and resulted in improved health outcomes. Therefore, there are important weaknesses in the evidence base for effective actions. Nevertheless, the evidence is strong to support the following conclusions:

The context

Effective interventions

Effective programme design and delivery

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1Strengthening action to improve feeding of infants and young children 6-23 months of age in nutrition and child health programmes. Geneva, 6-9 October 2008. WHO, UNICEF. Report of Proceedings. Available from WHO website or direct link: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2008/9789241597890_eng.pdf

2Although not addressed at this meeting, other practices, such as delayed umbilical cord clamping to enhance newborn body iron stores and micronutrient supplementation and nutrition during pregnancy, are also very important for young child nutrition.

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Action to improve infant and young child feeding in nutrition and child health programmes. Field Exchange 36, July 2009. p15. www.ennonline.net/fex/36/action

(ENN_3934)

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