Background With the shift of priority target for nutrition interventions from under-five children to the First 1,000 Days of the child’ s life, that period between conception and the child' s second birthday, a need to study the situation of children and women is seen necessary and timely.
Objectives This project aimed to implement and evaluate a nutrition strategyto improve the nutritional status of young children and pregnant mothers.
Methods The intervention was pilot tested in a municipality in Palawan, Philippines covering a sample of both six to 35 months old children and pregnant mothers in the intervention and non-intervention groups. The non-intervention group had the regular community services while the intervention group had 120-day complementary feeding of rice-mongo-sesame based complementary foods for young children and supplementary feeding of functional food recipes rich in iron for pregnant mothers. Nutrition education was provided to mothers and the households were encouraged to have a vegetable garden. Baseline and endline data collection on children' s weight and height and mothers' /caregivers' nutrition knowledge and practices were determined. Blood samples for anemia determination among pregnant mothers were collected three times during the intervention period.
Result The mean weight and height and the difference of means with the nutritional status of children using the anthropometric z-scores were highly significant in the intervention group. The decrease in number of anemic pregnant mothers in the intervention group was significant, indicative that the supplementary feeding was effective in lowering the incidence of iron-deficiency anemia. Likewise, the increase in mean score of pregnant mother' s nutrition knowledge from baseline to endline was significantly proved the value of nutrition education.
Conclusion The combined nutrition interventions of complementary feeding for children and supplementary feeding for mothers along with nutrition education and home gardening demonstrated an effective strategy towards improving maternal and child' s nutritional status during the First 1,000 Days window of opportunity.
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