New Abstract Digest on Maternal and Child Nutrition Research – Issue 7

We are pleased to release Issue 7 of our bi-monthly Abstract Digest on maternal and child nutrition. This issue features interesting publications examining nutrition from both a biological and political lens, in India and beyond. Highlights include:

Abstract Digest-Issue 07
Abstract Digest-Issue 07
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Abstract Digest-Issue 07

  • A special open-access issue of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences on integrating nutrition and early childhood development interventions
  • Two articles from Advances in Nutrition discussing 1) how nutrition research can become more useful in informing global nutrition guidelines (Stoltzfus 2014), and 2) arguing for the need to develop implementation science to enable stronger delivery of adequate nutrition to those in need (Habicht and Pelto 2014).
  • One study in Bio Medical Education identifying gaps in South Asian postgraduate nutrition programs to build capacity to address the current public health nutrition challenges (Khandelwal et al. 2014).
  • Two reviews, one providing an overview of the evidence-base for nutritional deficits in early life and greater risk for non-communicable diseases in later life (Langley-Evans 2014) and the other recommending investments in improving maternal autonomy to improve child nutritional status (Carlson et al. 2014).
  • Several articles focusing specifically on malnutrition in India, including on determinants of anemia (Anand 2013), vitamin A programming in India and its reach (Aguayo 2014), and management of severe acute malnutrition (Singh et al. 2014; Kumar et al. 2013).


POSHAN New Policy Note Explores Lessons Learned in Working Multisectorally to Improve Nutrition Globally and India

Photo Credit Aishwarya Pillai
Photo Credit Aishwarya Pillai

It is recognized that eliminating undernutrition requires actions across multiple sectors.  A child must receive food with adequate energy, protein, and micronutrients while at the same time having access to safe water, good sanitation, and quality health care.  However, services that need to be delivered are typically not led by the same sector, agency, or actor.  The agricultural sector, for example, focuses mostly on food production. The health sector usually focuses on clinical care, rather than on care and feeding in the home.

Though it is recognized that working multisectorally is critical to ensuring that adequate food, health, and care reach children, it isn’t always clear how to do so and it is rarely easy. With an aim of garnering lessons learned that could inform India’s policymakers and program implementers, POSHAN commissioned a review of global and Indian experience in improving nutrition through multiple sectors. The new Policy Note Working Multisectorally to Improve Nutrition: Global Lessons and Current Status (Please see below the paper)  in India examines best practices from other countries, including Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Senegal, and Thailand, as well as the status of current multisectoral initiatives in India in nutrition, which include the Multisectoral Nutrition Programme to Address Maternal and Child Undernutrition, which was conceived in 2008 by the Prime Minister’s National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges and launched in 2014. The paper features recommendations to ensure better implementation and sustainability of multisectoral approaches in India.

Last year in May 2013, POSHAN had organized a consultation on multisectoral approaches to improve maternal and child nutrition in India and had brought together key policymakers and policy advisers from a variety of ministries at the national level and from the Indian states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. This event highlighted lessons and experiences from other countries and from India.

Download the POSHAN Policy Note Working Multisectorally to Improve Nutrition Globally and India.pdf (661 Kb)

POSHAN’s Abstract Digest on Maternal and Child Nutrition Research – Issue 6

Aaganwadi centre (Photographer Aishwarya Pillai)
Aaganwadi centre (Photographer Aishwarya Pillai)

As we wrap up 2013, we are pleased to release the sixth issue of our bi-monthly Abstract Digest on maternal and child nutrition, the last issue for this year. This issue features interesting publications examining nutrition from both a biological and political lens, in India and beyond.

An India-based study in The Lancet highlights regional differences in neonatal and under-five mortality; the study highlights how several districts are on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 as early as 2015, while several others may not achieve it until 2023.

A BioMed Central Public Health study examines whether high parity is associated with lower coverage of key health interventions that might lead to increased mortality. The study identifies a significant relationship between coverage of maternal and child health services and birth order, offering a potential explanation for the association between higher parity and child mortality.

Using birth cohorts from 5 countries, a study from the Journal of Pediatrics examines the relationship between maternal height and child growth, concluding the strongest associations with conditional heights for adulthood and 2 years of age. The study confirms that maternal height influences linear growth of children over the growing period.

Of two studies focusing on the political context of maternal health in India, one, featured in Science Direct, uses evidence from two South Indian states to identify three key factors that shape health policy and its implementation: consistent political priorities, policy entrepreneurship, and strong public health system administration.

Thank you for your interest in the POSHAN Abstract Digest. Please feel free to share this digest with others, and engage in discussions with us on our Facebook page! We wish you and your families a very happy new year and we look forward to sharing highlights of maternal and child nutrition publications in 2014.

Click here to download the latest issue:

POSHAN Abstract Digest Issue#6DEC2013

For earlier issues, please visit our blog.


Updating India’s Plan for Achieving Sustainable Nutrition Security

File photo (a newborn being weighed): Photographer-Aishwarya Pillai
File photo (a newborn being weighed): Photographer-Aishwarya Pillai

In light of new evidence, the 2010 Leadership Agenda for Action (LAA), a documented plan for achieving sustainable nutrition security in India, is being updated to reflect recent scientific findings and to include strategies for scaling up successful programs.

The Coalition for Sustainable Nutrition Security in India, a group of nutritionists, policy and program leaders, and other experts, met on November 15, 2013 in New Delhi for the First Task Force Meeting.  The meeting had two objectives:

  1. Review and seek consensus on a) the list of the Leadership Agenda for Action(LAA) Essential Interventions (the “what”) based on the  online discussion recommendations, available new evidence, and additional suggestions made by task force members and b) the list of the suggested actions for each intervention (the “how’).
  2. Discuss and decide on other issues:

a)   How to organize the paper and LAA revision process and timeline
b)   How to address the conflict of interest (COI)

Highlights of the discussion:
Key recommendations of the online discussion (organized from Oct 16-18, 2013) were shared between the task force members. The online discussion covered wide range of topics in the areas of environmental health, maternal mental health, nutrition in emergencies, urban nutrition strategy, nutrition education, complementary feeding among others. For details please see attached online discussion summary for more details on these topics.

  • The task force discussed the “conflict of interest” issue which was highlighted during the online discussion of LAA.  It was suggested to refer the WHO COI guidelines and adapt the same for LAA Task Force. The Nutrition Coalition Secretariat will share the WHO COI with all task force members for review.
  • The task force members decided to review the essential interventions using a matrix that was agreed upon by all the members. The group could not complete reviewing all essential interventions and decided to complete through an online discussion before the next task force meeting.
  • The India Health Report prepared by Public Health Foundation of India need to be referred by the task force to keep a synergy between the Leadership Agenda for Action and India Health Report.
  • The second task force meeting will review all essential interventions and will focus on suggested actions for each intervention (the “how’). The second meeting will be held on December 17, 2013.

For further information, please contact the Nutrition Coalition Secretariat in the following email id:

Leadership Agenda for Action Summary of online discussion below:

LAA 2013 online discussion summary

The POSHAN Nutrition Knowledge Conveners Network on Stakeholder Engagement

Photo credit: Aishwarya Pillai
Photo credit: Aishwarya Pillai

In May 2013, POSHAN (Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonize Actions for Nutrition in India) hosted a meeting, bringing together various networks that are working to mobilize research evidence on nutrition in India.

Following the meeting, a Nutrition Knowledge Conveners Network (NKCN) was established on the Eldis Communities website in September 2013. Formed in response to suggestions that a virtual community be established to serve as a knowledge-sharing platform, the objective of the network is for key stakeholders to share lessons learned, promote linkages, and reflect on the best strategies for nutrition knowledge mobilization.

 Mr. Gopi Ghosh from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)  initiated the first discussion on the issue of engaging stakeholders in knowledge mobilization. Participants exchanged perspectives on how India can strengthen knowledge mobilization to support development.

There was a rich discussion on the factors that facilitate, as well as inhibit, stakeholder engagement in knowledge mobilization. Contributors emphasized it is essential that stakeholders believe in the principle and strength of knowledge mobilization and are self-motivated to remain engaged in discussions in both virtual and physical networks.

Accurately identifying stakeholders encourages the presentation of information in user-friendly formats that meet both stakeholders’ needs and preferences, suggested the participants. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that stakeholders will apply knowledge that has been generated within the network.

Participants also believed that it is important for knowledge to reach those who can apply it in practice; political and scientific knowledge alone is not sufficient. It is, therefore, essential to engage the people working at the operational level. However, at present, there are no forums or knowledge platforms geared towards the needs of those working on the ground and in the field.

 At the same time, participants cited several barriers to maintaining stakeholder engagement, including limited government participation, a lack of credible data, a lack of financial sustainability, and the under-promotion of a spirit and culture of sharing. Efforts to overcome these barriers would go a long way toward  ensuring a sustainable and vibrant stakeholder network on nutrition.

Above all, participants emphasized the importance of engaging senior experts from various disciplines, government officials, and members of civil society and non-governmental organizations to continue to facilitate rich discussions within the virtual network.


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