Multination Health and Nutrition Surveys

During the past few decades, the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) have been conducted in many countries in all regions of the world. The DHS surveys are nationally representative surveys that include household and individual health and nutrition indicators. The surveys are large, typically 5000 to 30 000 households, and are conducted periodically, often at 5-year intervals. The data included in the survey vary slightly by country (Tables 1 and 2) but typically include as a minimum anthropometric measurements and hemoglobin concentration (prevalence of anemia) of children and women of reproductive age and breast-feeding and complementary feeding practices. One of the major strengths of the DHS surveys is that they use standard questionnaires that allow for comparisons across survey years and between countries. Information from DHS surveys is readily available on the Internet.

The WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition provides a compilation of information from nationally representative and smaller scale surveys conducted in a number of countries. In order to be included in the database, a number of criteria must be met for data collection, analysis, and presentation. This facilitates the comparison of information that has been collected in different countries and regions. Nutrition Country Profiles are also compiled by FAO and include national-, household-, and individual-level data. The national-level data are obtained from the United Nations global data banks and are supplemented for many countries by data from local institutions and independent experts. Considering this broad range of sources, many differences in methodology of data collection, analysis, and presentation may exist and should be taken into consideration when comparing data from different countries.

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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