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1.  Use of Food Labels, Awareness of Nutritional Programs and Participation in the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC): Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005-6) 
Maternal & child nutrition  2011;9(3):299-308.
Use of nutritional labels in choosing food is associated with healthier eating habits including lower fat intake. Current public health efforts have focused on the revamping of nutritional labels to make them easier to read and use for the consumer.
To assess the frequency of use of nutritional labels and awareness of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritional programs by women eligible and participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as surveyed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-6 .
Many low-income women do not regularly use the nutrition facts panel information on the food label and less than half had heard of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans (38.9%). In multivariate logistic regression, we found that WIC participation was associated with reduced use of the nutrition facts panel in choosing food products (OR 0.45, 95%CI 0.22-0.91), the health claims information (OR 0.54, 95%CI 0.32-0.28) and the information on carbohydrates when deciding to buy a product (OR 0.44, 95%CI 0.20-0.97) in comparison with WIC eligible non-participants.
Any intervention to improve use of nutritional labels and knowledge of the USDA’s nutritional programs needs to target low-income women, including WIC participants. Future studies should evaluate possible reasons for the low use of nutrition labels among WIC participants.
PMCID: PMC4008321  PMID: 22171961
2.  Early Exclusive Breastfeeding and Maternal Attitudes Towards Infant Feeding in a Population of New Mothers in San Francisco, California 
Breastfeeding Medicine  2010;5(1):9-15.
Positive parental attitudes towards infant feeding are an important component in child nutritional health. Previous studies have found that participants in the Special Supplemental Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program have lower breastfeeding rates and attitudes that do not contribute towards healthy infant feeding in spite of breastfeeding and nutrition education programs targeting WIC participants. The objective of this study was to assess the frequency of exclusive breastfeeding in the early postpartum period and maternal attitudes towards breastfeeding in a population of mothers at two San Francisco hospitals and in relation to WIC participation status.
We interviewed women who had recently delivered a healthy newborn using a structured interview.
A high percentage (79.8%) of our sample was exclusively breastfeeding at 1–4 days postpartum. We did not find any significant differences in rates of formula or mixed feeding by WIC participant status. Independent risk factors for mixed or formula feeding at 1–3 days postpartum included Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity (odds ratio [OR] 2.90, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17–7.19). Being a college graduate was associated with a decreased risk of formula/mixed feeding (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.10–0.79). We also found that thinking breastfeeding was physically painful and uncomfortable was independently associated with not breastfeeding (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.06–1.89).
Future studies should be conducted with Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to better understand the lower rates of exclusive breastfeeding in this population and should address negative attitudes towards breastfeeding such as the idea that breastfeeding is painful or uncomfortable.
PMCID: PMC2936253  PMID: 19772374
3.  Socioeconomic Gradients and Low Birth-Weight: Empirical and Policy Considerations 
Health Services Research  2003;38(6 Pt 2):1819-1842.
To examine whether socioeconomic status (SES) gradients emerge in health outcomes as early as birth and to examine the magnitude, potential sources, and explanations of any observed SES gradients.
Data Sources
The National Maternal and Infant Health Survey conducted in 1988.
Study Design
A multinomial logistic regression of trichotomized birth-weight categories was conducted for normal birth-weight (2,500–5,500 grams), low birth-weight (LBWT; <2,500 grams), and heavy birth-weight (>5,500 grams). Key variables included income, education, occupational grade, state-level income inequality, and length of participation in Women-Infants-Children (WIC) for pregnant mothers.
Principal Findings
A socioeconomic gradient for low birth-weight was discovered for an adjusted household income measure, net of all covariates in the unrestricted models. A gross effect of maternal education was explained by maternal smoking behaviors, while no effect of occupational grade was observed, net of household income. There were no significant state-level income inequality effects (Gini coefficient) for any of the models. In addition, participation in WIC was discovered to substantially flatten income gradients for short-term participants and virtually eliminate an income gradient among long-term participants.
Although a materialist explanation for early-life SES gradients seems the most plausible (vis-à-vis psychosocial and occupational explanations), more research is needed to discover potential interventions. In addition, the notion of a monotonic gradient in which income is salutary across the full range of the distribution is challenged by these data such that income may cease to be beneficial after a given threshold. Finally, the success of WIC participation in flattening SES gradients argues for either: (a) the experimental efficacy of WIC, or (b) the biasing selection characteristics of WIC participants; either conclusion suggests that interventions or characteristics of participants deserves further study as a potential remedy for socioeconomic disparities in early-life health outcomes such as LBWT.
PMCID: PMC1360975  PMID: 14727799
Socioeconomic status gradients; low birth-weight
4.  Young Children's Probability of Dying Before and After Their Mother's Death: A Rural South African Population-Based Surveillance Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(3):e1001409.
Brian Houle and colleagues examine the temporal relationship between mother and child death by using 15 years of data (1994–2008) from household surveys conducted in the Agincourt sub-district of South Africa.
There is evidence that a young child's risk of dying increases following the mother's death, but little is known about the risk when the mother becomes very ill prior to her death. We hypothesized that children would be more likely to die during the period several months before their mother's death, as well as for several months after her death. Therefore we investigated the relationship between young children's likelihood of dying and the timing of their mother's death and, in particular, the existence of a critical period of increased risk.
Methods and Findings
Data from a health and socio-demographic surveillance system in rural South Africa were collected on children 0–5 y of age from 1 January 1994 to 31 December 2008. Discrete time survival analysis was used to estimate children's probability of dying before and after their mother's death, accounting for moderators. 1,244 children (3% of sample) died from 1994 to 2008. The probability of child death began to rise 6–11 mo prior to the mother's death and increased markedly during the 2 mo immediately before the month of her death (odds ratio [OR] 7.1 [95% CI 3.9–12.7]), in the month of her death (OR 12.6 [6.2–25.3]), and during the 2 mo following her death (OR 7.0 [3.2–15.6]). This increase in the probability of dying was more pronounced for children whose mothers died of AIDS or tuberculosis compared to other causes of death, but the pattern remained for causes unrelated to AIDS/tuberculosis. Infants aged 0–6 mo at the time of their mother's death were nine times more likely to die than children aged 2–5 y. The limitations of the study included the lack of knowledge about precisely when a very ill mother will die, a lack of information about child nutrition and care, and the diagnosis of AIDS deaths by verbal autopsy rather than serostatus.
Young children in lower income settings are more likely to die not only after their mother's death but also in the months before, when she is seriously ill. Interventions are urgently needed to support families both when the mother becomes very ill and after her death.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Over the past few years, there has been enormous international effort to meet the target set by Millennium Development Goal 4—to reduce the under-five child mortality rate by two-thirds from the 1990 level by 2015. There has been some encouraging progress, and according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, in 2011, just under 7 million children less than five years died, a fall of almost 3 million from a decade ago. However, such efforts must also consider the health of the mother, as it is now also well established that the health of children is intrinsically linked to their mother's health: there is strong evidence from low- and middle-income countries that children's risk of dying increases around the time of their mother's death, particularly relating to the HIV pandemic in Africa.
Why Was This Study Done?
Previous studies examining the timing of a child's death relative to that of their mother have mainly focused on the period after the mother's death. So far, there have been few studies examining the link between a child's death and the period when his/her mother becomes ill and unable to care for and feed her child. In this study from the Agincourt sub-district in northeast South Africa, the researchers investigated the relationship between young children's chance (odds) of dying and the timing of their mother's death, particularly to examine whether there were critical periods of risk for children before their mother's death.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the health and socio-demographic surveillance system in the area, which had 15 years (1994–2008) of information from yearly household surveys. The researchers focused on young children (0–6 months, 7–23 months, and 24–59 months) whose mothers had died, and through a statistical model, analysed the changes in the child's chance (odds) of dying from a year before the mother's death through to any time after her death during the study period. The cause of the mother's death was identified from verbal autopsy and categorized as being related to AIDS or tuberculosis (chronic) or other (mostly acute) causes not related to these infections. The researchers took other factors into account in their analysis and compared the odds of dying for children whose mothers died with those whose mothers were alive.
Using these methods, the researchers found that a total of 1,244 children (3% of the total sample) died between 1994 and 2008. Importantly, the researchers found that although the period when children are more likely to die began to increase in the period 6–11 months before their mother's death, there were three distinct periods of a much higher chance (odds) of death: the period 1–2 months before the month in which their mother died (odds ratio 7.1), the month of her death (odds ratio 12.6), and the period 1–2 months following her death (odds ratio 7.0). Furthermore, during the five-month period around the time of their mother's death, children (both boys and girls) aged 0–6 months were about nine times more likely to die than children aged 24–59 months. Finally, children were about 1.5 times more likely to die if their mother died of an AIDS/tuberculosis-related cause.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These finding suggest that in low-income settings, young children are more likely to die in the months before their mother's death, when she is seriously ill, not just in the period after her death. The chance of dying is particularly increased in very young children (0–6 months) and in children whose mother died of HIV/tuberculosis-related causes. Although this study had several limitations, such as limited information on the child's cause of death, this study highlights the urgent need for proactive and coordinated community-based interventions to support families, especially vulnerable children, when a mother becomes seriously ill, in addition to the period following her death.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The Countdown to 2015 initiative has the latest country information on progress in reducing maternal, neonatal, and child deaths
The World Health Organization has more information on Millennium Development Goal 4
The Joint United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS has information about the number of deaths from HIV-related causes
MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) has more information on the research platform that made this study possible
PMCID: PMC3608552  PMID: 23555200
5.  Community Mobilization in Mumbai Slums to Improve Perinatal Care and Outcomes: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001257.
David Osrin and colleagues report findings from a cluster-randomized trial conducted in Mumbai slums; the trial aimed to evaluate whether facilitator-supported women's groups could improve perinatal outcomes.
Improving maternal and newborn health in low-income settings requires both health service and community action. Previous community initiatives have been predominantly rural, but India is urbanizing. While working to improve health service quality, we tested an intervention in which urban slum-dweller women's groups worked to improve local perinatal health.
Methods and Findings
A cluster randomized controlled trial in 24 intervention and 24 control settlements covered a population of 283,000. In each intervention cluster, a facilitator supported women's groups through an action learning cycle in which they discussed perinatal experiences, improved their knowledge, and took local action. We monitored births, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths, and interviewed mothers at 6 weeks postpartum. The primary outcomes described perinatal care, maternal morbidity, and extended perinatal mortality. The analysis included 18,197 births over 3 years from 2006 to 2009. We found no differences between trial arms in uptake of antenatal care, reported work, rest, and diet in later pregnancy, institutional delivery, early and exclusive breastfeeding, or care-seeking. The stillbirth rate was non-significantly lower in the intervention arm (odds ratio 0.86, 95% CI 0.60–1.22), and the neonatal mortality rate higher (1.48, 1.06–2.08). The extended perinatal mortality rate did not differ between arms (1.19, 0.90–1.57). We have no evidence that these differences could be explained by the intervention.
Facilitating urban community groups was feasible, and there was evidence of behaviour change, but we did not see population-level effects on health care or mortality. In cities with multiple sources of health care, but inequitable access to services, community mobilization should be integrated with attempts to deliver services for the poorest and most vulnerable, and with initiatives to improve quality of care in both public and private sectors.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN96256793
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Substantial progress is being made to reduce global child mortality (deaths of children before the age of 5 years) and maternal mortality (deaths among women because of complications of pregnancy and childbirth)—two of the Millennium Development Goals agreed by world leaders in 2000 to end extreme poverty. Even so, worldwide, in 2010, 7.6 million children died before their fifth birthday and there were nearly 360,000 maternal deaths. Almost all child and maternal deaths occur in developing countries—a fifth of under-five deaths and more than a quarter of neonatal deaths (deaths during the first month of life, which account for two-fifths of all child deaths) occur in India alone. Moreover, most child and maternal deaths are caused by avoidable conditions. Specifically, the major causes of neonatal death—complications of preterm delivery, breathing problems during or after delivery, and infections of the blood (sepsis) and lungs (pneumonia)—and of maternal deaths—hemorrhage (abnormal bleeding), sepsis, unsafe abortion, obstructed labor, and hypertensive diseases of pregnancy—could all be largely prevented by improved access to reproductive health services and skilled health care workers.
Why Was This Study Done?
Experts believe that improvements to maternal and newborn health in low-income settings require both health service strengthening and community action. That is, the demand for better services, driven by improved knowledge about maternal and newborn health (perinatal issues), has to be increased in parallel with the supply of those services. To date, community mobilization around perinatal issues has largely been undertaken in rural settings but populations in developing countries are becoming increasingly urban. In India, for example, 30% of the population now lives in cities. In this cluster randomized controlled trial (a study in which groups of people are randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions and the outcomes in the differently treated “clusters” are compared), City Initiative for Newborn Health (CINH) researchers investigate the effect of an intervention designed to help women's groups in the slums of Mumbai work towards improving local perinatal health. The CINH aims to improve maternal and newborn health in slum communities by improving public health care provision and by working with community members to improve maternal and newborn care practices and care-seeking behaviors.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 48 Mumbai slum communities of at least 1,000 households into their trial. In each of the 24 intervention clusters, a facilitator supported local women's groups through a 36-meeting learning cycle during which group members discussed their perinatal experiences, improved their knowledge, and took action. To measure the effect of the intervention, the researchers monitored births, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths in all the clusters and interviewed mothers 6 weeks after delivery. During the 3-year trial, there were 18,197 births in the participating settlements. The women in the intervention clusters were enthusiastic about acquiring new knowledge and made substantial efforts to reach out to other women but were less successful in undertaking collective action such as negotiations with civic authorities for more amenities. There were no differences between the intervention and control communities in the uptake of antenatal care, reported work, rest, and diet in late pregnancy, institutional delivery, or in breast feeding and care-seeking behavior. Finally, the combined rate of stillbirths and neonatal deaths (the extended perinatal mortality rate) was the same in both arms of the trial, as was maternal mortality.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that it is possible to facilitate the discussion of perinatal health care by urban women's groups in the challenging conditions that exist in the slums of Mumbai. However, they fail to show any measureable effect of community mobilization through the facilitation of women's groups on perinatal health at the population level. The researchers acknowledge that more intensive community activities that target the poorest, most vulnerable slum dwellers might produce measurable effects on perinatal mortality, and they conclude that, in cities with multiple sources of health care and inequitable access to services, it remains important to integrate community mobilization with attempts to deliver services to the poorest and most vulnerable, and with initiatives to improve the quality of health care in both the public and private sector.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) works for children's rights, survival, development, and protection around the world; it provides information on the reduction of child mortality (Millennium Development Goal 4); its Childinfo website provides information about all the Millennium Development Goals and detailed statistics about on child survival and health, newborn care, and maternal health (some information in several languages)
The World Health Organization also has information about Millennium Development Goal 4 and Millennium Development Goal 5, the reduction of maternal mortality, provides information on newborn infants, and provides estimates of child mortality rates (some information in several languages)
Further information about the Millennium Development Goals is available
Information on the City Initiative for Newborn Health and its partners and a detailed description of its trial of community mobilization in Mumbai slums to improve care during pregnancy, delivery, postnatally and for the newborn are available
Further information about the Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action (SNEHA) is available
PMCID: PMC3389036  PMID: 22802737
6.  Development of supplemental nutrition care program for women, infants and children in Korea: NutriPlus+ 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2009;3(3):171-179.
Onto the world-fastest ageing of society, the world-lowest fertility rate prompted a development of various policies and programs for a betterment of the population in Korea. Since the vulnerability of young children of low socio-economic class to malnutrition was clearly shown at the in-depth analysis of the 2001 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, an effort to devise supplemental nutrition care program for pregnant/breastfeeding women, infants and preschool children was initiated. The program was designed to offer nutrition education tailored to fit the needs of the participants and special supplementary foods, using USDA WIC program as a benchmark. Based on the dietary intake of those age groups, target nutrients were selected and their major food sources were searched through nutrient content of foods and dietary pattern analysis. As a result, we developed 6 kinds of food packages using combinations of 11 different food items. The amount of each item in a food package was determined to supplement the intake deficit in target nutrients. Nutrition education in NutriPlus+ aims to improve the nutrition knowledge, attitude, and dietary behaviors of the participants, and is provided through group lessons, individual counseling sessions and home visits. Breastfeeding is promoted with top priority in education for the health of both mother and baby. The eligibility guidelines were set for residency, household income, age, pregnancy/breastfeeding and nutritional risk such as anemia, stunting, underweight, and/or inadequate nutrient intake. Income eligibility was defined as household income less than 200 percent of the Korean poverty guidelines. A pilot study to examine the feasibility of program implementation was run in 3 public health centers in 2005 and expanded to 15 and 20 in the following 2 years. The result of 3-year pilot study will be reported separately along with the ultimate nationwide implementation of the NutriPlus+ in 2008.
PMCID: PMC2808715  PMID: 20090881
Nutrition care; women; infants; children; NutriPlus+
7.  Impact of maternal education about complementary feeding and provision of complementary foods on child growth in developing countries 
BMC Public Health  2011;11(Suppl 3):S25.
Childhood undernutrition is prevalent in low and middle income countries. It is an important indirect cause of child mortality in these countries. According to an estimate, stunting (height for age Z score < -2) and wasting (weight for height Z score < -2) along with intrauterine growth restriction are responsible for about 2.1 million deaths worldwide in children < 5 years of age. This comprises 21 % of all deaths in this age group worldwide. The incidence of stunting is the highest in the first two years of life especially after six months of life when exclusive breastfeeding alone cannot fulfill the energy needs of a rapidly growing child. Complementary feeding for an infant refers to timely introduction of safe and nutritional foods in addition to breast-feeding (BF) i.e. clean and nutritionally rich additional foods introduced at about six months of infant age. Complementary feeding strategies encompass a wide variety of interventions designed to improve not only the quality and quantity of these foods but also improve the feeding behaviors. In this review, we evaluated the effectiveness of two most commonly applied strategies of complementary feeding i.e. timely provision of appropriate complementary foods (± nutritional counseling) and education to mothers about practices of complementary feeding on growth. Recommendations have been made for input to the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) model by following standardized guidelines developed by Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG).
We conducted a systematic review of published randomized and quasi-randomized trials on PubMed, Cochrane Library and WHO regional databases. The included studies were abstracted and graded according to study design, limitations, intervention details and outcome effects. The primary outcomes were change in weight and height during the study period among children 6-24 months of age. We hypothesized that provision of complementary food and education of mother about complementary food would significantly improve the nutritional status of the children in the intervention group compared to control. Meta-analyses were generated for change in weight and height by two methods. In the first instance, we pooled the results to get weighted mean difference (WMD) which helps to pool studies with different units of measurement and that of different duration. A second meta-analysis was conducted to get a pooled estimate in terms of actual increase in weight (kg) and length (cm) in relation to the intervention, for input into the LiST model.
After screening 3795 titles, we selected 17 studies for inclusion in the review. The included studies evaluated the impact of provision of complementary foods (±nutritional counseling) and of nutritional counseling alone. Both these interventions were found to result in a significant increase in weight [WMD 0.34 SD, 95% CI 0.11 – 0.56 and 0.30 SD, 95 % CI 0.05-0.54 respectively) and linear growth [WMD 0.26 SD, 95 % CI 0.08-0.43 and 0.21 SD, 95 % CI 0.01-0.41 respectively]. Pooled results for actual increase in weight in kilograms and length in centimeters showed that provision of appropriate complementary foods (±nutritional counseling) resulted in an extra gain of 0.25kg (±0.18) in weight and 0.54 cm (±0.38) in height in children aged 6-24 months. The overall quality grades for these estimates were that of ‘moderate’ level. These estimates have been recommended for inclusion in the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) model. Education of mother about complementary feeding led to an extra weight gain of 0.30 kg (±0.26) and a gain of 0.49 cm (±0.50) in height in the intervention group compared to control. These estimates had been recommended for inclusion in the LiST model with an overall quality grade assessment of ‘moderate’ level.
Provision of appropriate complementary food, with or without nutritional education, and maternal nutritional counseling alone lead to significant increase in weight and height in children 6-24 months of age. These interventions can significantly reduce the risk of stunting in developing countries and are recommended for inclusion in the LiST tool.
PMCID: PMC3231899  PMID: 21501443
8.  Evaluating the Initial Impact of the Revised Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food Packages on Dietary Intake and Home Food Availability in African American and Hispanic Families 
Public health nutrition  2013;17(1):83-93.
The present study assessed the impact of the 2009 food packages mandated by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on dietary intake and home food availability in low-income African American and Hispanic parent/child dyads.
A natural experiment was conducted to assess if the revised WIC food package altered dietary intake, home food availability, weight, and various lifestyle measures immediately (6 months) following policy implementation.
12 WIC clinics in Chicago, USA.
273, 2–3 year old Hispanic and African American children enrolled in WIC and their mothers
Six months after the WIC food package revisions were implemented, we observed modest changes in dietary intake. Fruit consumption increased among Hispanic mothers (mean=0.33 servings/d, p=.04), and low-fat dairy intake increased among Hispanic mothers (0.21 servings/d, p=.02), Hispanic children (0.34 servings/d, p<.001), and African American children (0.24 servings/d, p=.02). Home food availability of low fat dairy and whole grains also increased. Dietary changes, however, varied by racial/ethnic group. Changes in home food availability were not significantly correlated with changes in diet.
The WIC food package revisions are one of the first efforts to modify the nutrition guidelines that govern foods provided in a federal food and nutrition assistance program. It will be important to examine the longer term impact of these changes on dietary intake and weight status.
PMCID: PMC3858404  PMID: 23544992
dietary behaviors; minority groups; food assistance; nutrition policy; obesity
9.  Feeding practices, nutritional status and associated factors of lactating women in Samre Woreda, South Eastern Zone of Tigray, Ethiopia 
Nutrition Journal  2013;12:28.
Lactating mothers from low-income settings are considered as a nutritionally vulnerable group. Due to the nursing process, mothers are subjected to nutritional stresses. Frequent pregnancies followed by lactation increase the health risk of mothers resulting in a high maternal mortality.
To assess the feeding practices, nutritional status and associated factors of lactating women from Samre Woreda, South Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia.
Community based cross-sectional survey
Four kebeles of Samre Woreda (2 urban & 2 rural kebeles)
Four hundred lactating mothers were recruited from 400 randomly selected households. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, maternal characteristics, feeding practices, frequency of foods eaten and dietary diversity was collected using a pre-tested and structured questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements were taken from each mother using calibrated equipments and standardized techniques. A one-day weighed food record was also collected from randomly selected sub sample (n=60) of mothers. The nutrient and energy content of foods consumed by the mothers was calculated by using ESHA Food Processor and the Ethiopian Food Composition Tables. To investigate the socio-economic and demographic factors affecting the nutritional status of the women, logistic regression was used. ANOVA and t-test were also used to see if there was a mean difference in nutritional status among the lactating mothers.
Majority (71.2%) of the participants did not take additional meals during lactation. The median dietary diversity score of the study participants was 5 out of 14 food groups. The prevalence of underweight, chronic energy deficiency and stunting were 31%, 25% and 2.2% respectively. Using logistic regression model, factors significantly associated with the nutritional status of the study participants (as determined by BMI and MUAC) were size of farm land, length of years of marriage, maize cultivation, frequency of antenatal care visit and age of breastfeeding child.
The feeding practices, dietary intakes and nutritional status of the lactating women were short of the national and international recommendations. Therefore, sustained health and nutrition education is recommended to the women and their families and communities on increased food intake, proper dietary practices and dietary diversification during lactation in order to improve health and nutrition outcomes of lactating women.
PMCID: PMC3599359  PMID: 23452646
South Eastern Tigray; Lactating mothers; Weighed food record; Feeding practices
10.  Food Insufficiency Is Associated with High-Risk Sexual Behavior among Women in Botswana and Swaziland 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(10):e260.
Both food insufficiency and HIV infection are major public health problems in sub-Saharan Africa, yet the impact of food insufficiency on HIV risk behavior has not been systematically investigated. We tested the hypothesis that food insufficiency is associated with HIV transmission behavior.
Methods and Findings
We studied the association between food insufficiency (not having enough food to eat over the previous 12 months) and inconsistent condom use, sex exchange, and other measures of risky sex in a cross-sectional population-based study of 1,255 adults in Botswana and 796 adults in Swaziland using a stratified two-stage probability design. Associations were examined using multivariable logistic regression analyses, clustered by country and stratified by gender. Food insufficiency was reported by 32% of women and 22% of men over the previous 12 months. Among 1,050 women in both countries, after controlling for respondent characteristics including income and education, HIV knowledge, and alcohol use, food insufficiency was associated with inconsistent condom use with a nonprimary partner (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.27–2.36), sex exchange (AOR 1.84, 95% CI 1.74–1.93), intergenerational sexual relationships (AOR 1.46, 95% CI 1.03–2.08), and lack of control in sexual relationships (AOR 1.68, 95% CI 1.24–2.28). Associations between food insufficiency and risky sex were much attenuated among men.
Food insufficiency is an important risk factor for increased sexual risk-taking among women in Botswana and Swaziland. Targeted food assistance and income generation programs in conjunction with efforts to enhance women's legal and social rights may play an important role in decreasing HIV transmission risk for women.
In a cross-sectional study, Sheri Weiser and colleagues found that food insufficiency was an important risk factor for increased sexual risk-taking in women in Botswana and Swaziland.
Editors' Summary
For people in sub-Saharan Africa, insufficient food for their daily needs and infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV; the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS) are inextricably linked and major causes of illness and death. By reducing the number of healthy adults in the region, HIV/AIDS has decreased food production so fewer people have secure access to sufficient food for a healthy life—many are subject to “food insecurity.” Because good nutrition is essential for a strong immune system, food insecurity increases the likelihood that people exposed to HIV become infected with the virus and reduces their ability to remain healthy after infection. Consequently, more people succumb to HIV/AIDS and food insecurity increases. To break this vicious cycle, UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) and other international bodies have suggested a move towards integrated food security programs and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs wherever possible.
Why Was This Study Done?
Integrated food and HIV/AIDS programs might also be beneficial for another reason. HIV is usually spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner and it is thought that a lack of food increases sexual risk taking, particularly among poor women. These women have little control over food supplies but are expected to feed their children and other members of the household (such as elders). To do this, they may sell sex or become sexually involved with men of a different generation, both of which put them at risk of HIV. In addition, they are rarely able to demand that their partners use condoms or to control when they have sex. In this study, the researchers have examined how food insufficiency affects sexual risk taking among men and women in Swaziland and Botswana. These two countries have the highest HIV infection rates in the world—one in three adults in Swaziland and one in four in Botswana are infected—and in both countries many people are extremely poor.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers interviewed more than 2,000 randomly selected adults from Botswana and Swaziland using a standard questionnaire. This included general questions about the participants (for example, age and marital status) and questions about food insufficiency (defined as not having had enough food to eat over the previous 12 months) and risky sexual behaviors—for example, sex exchange (selling or paying for sex) and inconsistent condom use—over the same period. Nearly one in three women and one in four men reported food insufficiency. After allowing for variables such as education and income, women in both countries who reported food insufficiency were nearly twice as likely to have used condoms inconsistently with a non-regular partner or to have sold sex as women who had had sufficient food. They were also more likely to have had intergenerational sexual relationships and to report a lack of control in sexual relationships. Among men, food insufficiency was weakly associated with inconsistent condom use but not with other risky sexual behaviors.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Food insufficiency is associated with multiple (often interdependent) risky sexual practices among women in Botswana and Swaziland. These results may not hold for other countries and may be limited by the definition of food insufficiency used in the study and by participants failing to remember or report all instances of risky behavior or food insufficiency that occurred during the previous year. Nevertheless, the findings strongly suggest that protecting and promoting access to food may decrease vulnerability of women in sub-Saharan Africa to HIV infection. Improved food security might be achieved through targeted food assistance and by supporting women's subsistence farming and other means of food production. Such programs would also need to enhance women's legal and social rights so that they have more control over food supplies as well as their sexual lives.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Special Programme for Food Security (in several languages)
HIV InSite, comprehensive and up-to-date information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS from the University of California San Francisco
UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) fact sheet on nutrition, food security, and HIV/AIDS
HIV and AIDS in Swaziland and Botswana, information provided by Avert, an international AIDS charity
The IMAGE Study, an example of a research initiative that is investigating the potential role of poverty alleviation and women's empowerment in reducing HIV incidence in South Africa
PMCID: PMC2039764  PMID: 17958460
11.  Child hunger and the protective effects of supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) and alternative food sources among Mexican-origin families in Texas border colonias 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:143.
Nutritional health is essential for children’s growth and development. Many Mexican-origin children who reside in limited-resource colonias along the Texas-Mexico border are at increased risk for poor nutrition as a result of household food insecurity. However, little is known about the prevalence of child hunger or its associated factors among children of Mexican immigrants. This study determines the prevalence of child hunger and identifies protective and risk factors associated with it in two Texas border areas.
This study uses 2009 Colonia Household and Community Food Resource Assessment (C-HCFRA) data from 470 mothers who were randomly recruited by promotora-researchers. Participants from colonias near two small towns in two South Texas counties participated in an in-home community and household assessment. Interviewer-administered surveys collected data in Spanish on sociodemographics, federal food assistance program participation, and food security status. Frequencies and bivariate correlations were examined while a random-effects logistic regression model with backward elimination was used to determine correlates of childhood hunger.
Hunger among children was reported in 51% (n = 239) of households in this C-HCFRA sample. Bivariate analyses revealed that hunger status was associated with select maternal characteristics, such as lower educational attainment and Mexican nativity, and household characteristics, including household composition, reliance on friend or neighbor for transportation, food purchase at dollar stores and from neighbors, and participation in school-based nutrition programs. A smaller percentage of households with child hunger participated in school-based nutrition programs (51%) or used alternative food sources, while 131 households were unable to give their child or children a balanced meal during the school year and 145 households during summer months. In the random effects model (RE = small town), increased household composition, full-time unemployment, and participation in the National School Lunch Program were significantly associated with increased odds for child hunger, while participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and purchasing food from a neighbor were significantly associated with decreased odds for child hunger.
This study not only emphasizes the alarming rates of child hunger among this sample of Mexican-origin families, but also identifies economic and family factors that increased the odds for child hunger as well as community strategies that reduced the odds. It is unsettling that so many children did not participate in school-based nutrition programs, and that many who participated in federal nutrition assistance programs remained hungry. This study underscores the importance of identifying the presence of child hunger among low-income Mexican-origin children in Texas border colonias and increasing access to nutrition-related resources. Hunger-associated health inequities at younger ages among colonia residents are likely to persist across the life span and into old age.
PMCID: PMC3847461  PMID: 24034599
Childhood hunger; Food assistance programs; Alternative food sources; Immigrant
12.  Use of Farmers Markets by Mothers of WIC Recipients, Miami-Dade County, Florida, 2011 
Farmers market-based interventions, including the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), represent a promising strategy for improving dietary behaviors in low-income communities. Little is known, however, about the health-related characteristics of low-income parents who frequent farmers markets in urban settings. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between family-health factors and the use of farmers markets by mothers of WIC recipients.
We recruited a convenience sample of mothers of children seeking care at a primary care clinic in a large urban public hospital in Miami, Florida, in 2011 (n = 181 total). The clinic was adjacent to a newly established farmers market at the hospital. Each mother completed an interviewer-administered survey that included self-reported measures of maternal and child health, acculturation, dietary behaviors, food insecurity, and use of farmers markets.
Reported use of farmers markets was independently associated with maternal history of diabetes (odds ratio [OR], 6.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3–38.3) and increased maternal vegetable (but not fruit) consumption (OR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.5–8.1). Intended future use of farmers markets was independently associated with being unemployed (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.0–5.7), increased maternal vegetable consumption (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.1–5.7), and food insecurity (OR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.3–10.3).
This study provides a snapshot of factors associated with farmers market use in a diverse population of urban low-income families. Understanding these factors may inform public health approaches to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in communities at high risk for preventable chronic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3684356  PMID: 23764344
13.  Concentration of Tobacco Advertisements at SNAP and WIC Stores, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2012 
Tobacco advertising is widespread in urban areas with racial/ethnic minority and low-income households that participate in nutrition assistance programs. Tobacco sales and advertising are linked to smoking behavior, which may complicate matters for low-income families struggling with disparate health risks relating to nutrition and chronic disease. We investigated the relationship between the amount and type of tobacco advertisements on tobacco outlets and the outlet type and location.
By using field visits and online images, we inspected all licensed tobacco retail outlets in Philadelphia (N = 4,639). Point pattern analyses were used to identify significant clustering of tobacco outlets and outlets with exterior tobacco advertisements. Logistic regression was used to analyze the relationship between the outlet’s acceptance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the presence of tobacco advertisements.
Tobacco outlets with exterior tobacco advertisements were significantly clustered in several high-poverty areas. Controlling for racial/ethnic and income composition and land use, SNAP and WIC vendors were significantly more likely to have exterior (SNAP odds ratio [OR], 2.11; WIC OR, 1.59) and interior (SNAP OR, 3.43; WIC OR, 1.69) tobacco advertisements than other types of tobacco outlets.
Tobacco advertising is widespread at retail outlets, particularly in low-income and racial/ethnic minority neighborhoods. Policy makers may be able to mitigate the effects of this disparate exposure through tobacco retail licensing, local sign control rules, and SNAP and WIC authorization.
PMCID: PMC4318686  PMID: 25654220
14.  A community based prevention of weight gain intervention (Mothers In Motion) among young low-income overweight and obese mothers: design and rationale 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:280.
Over 45% of American women 20–39 years old are at risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions because they are overweight or obese. The prevalence of overweight and obesity is disproportionately high among low-income women. This paper describes the study design and rationale of a community based intervention (Mothers In Motion, MIM) aimed to prevent weight gain among low-income overweight and obese mothers18-39 years old by promoting stress management, healthy eating, and physical activity.
Peer recruiters approach participants from 5 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Michigan. The MIM delivers theory-based, culturally-sensitive intervention messages via a combination of DVDs and peer support group teleconferences (PSGTs). The DVD features African American and white overweight and obese WIC mothers who participated in a healthy lifestyle intervention patterned after MIM. The PSGTs are led by paraprofessionals from Michigan State University Extension and WIC providers in Michigan who are trained in motivational interviewing and group facilitation skills. Participants are randomly assigned to an intervention (n = 350) or comparison group (n = 175). The intervention group receives a 16-week intervention on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Participants are asked to watch 10 MIM DVD chapters at home and join 10 PSGT sessions by phone. The comparison group receives printed educational materials. The primary outcome is body weight. Secondary outcomes include dietary fat, fruit, and vegetable intake; physical activity; stress, and affect. Mediators are self-efficacy, emotional coping response, social support, and autonomous motivation. Telephone interviews and in-person data collection at WIC offices occur at 3 time points: baseline, immediately, and 3 months after the 16-week intervention.
If MIM shows effectiveness, it could have a favorable impact on public health and community programs. The DVDs and PSGTs will be disseminated in WIC, Extension, clinical practice that promote healthy lifestyles for similar target audiences to make a broad contribution to the prevention of weight gain in low-income mothers. Also, our methodology can be adapted by researchers and community stakeholders to help other low-income populations prevent weight gain.
Trial registration
Clinical Trials Number: NCT01839708.
PMCID: PMC3987655  PMID: 24666633
Obesity prevention; Stress management; Healthy eating; Physical activity; Low-income women
15.  Savings achieved by giving WIC benefits to women prenatally. 
Public Health Reports  1995;110(1):27-34.
The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food, nutrition and health education, and social services referral to pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, and their infants and young children who are both low-income and at nutritional risk. A number of statistically controlled evaluations that compared prenatal women who received WIC services with demographically similar women who did not receive WIC services have found WIC enrollment associated with decreased levels of low birth weight among enrolled women's infants. Several also have found lower overall maternal and infant hospital costs among women who had received prenatal WIC services compared with similar women who did not receive prenatal WIC services. A meta-analysis of the studies shows that providing WIC benefits to pregnant women is estimated to reduce low birth weight rates 25 percent and reduce very low birth weight births by 44 percent. Using these data to estimate costs, prenatal WIC enrollment is estimated to have reduced first year medical costs for U.S. infants by $1.19 billion in 1992. Savings from a reduction in estimated Medicaid expenditures in the first year post-partum more than offset the cost of the Federal prenatal WIC Program. Even using more conservative assumptions, providing prenatal WIC benefits was cost-beneficial. Because of the estimated program cost-savings, the U.S. General Accounting Office has recommended that all pregnant women at or below 185 percent of Federal poverty level be eligible for the program.
PMCID: PMC1382070  PMID: 7838940
16.  Prenatal Weight Gain: Who is Counseled? 
Journal of Women's Health  2012;21(6):695-701.
Because prenatal counseling is associated with adherence to weight gain guidelines, we sought to identify patient-level characteristics associated with the receipt of counseling on weight gain, nutrition, and exercise during prenatal care.
We performed a secondary data analysis on a cohort of women enrolled in a prenatal counseling intervention study. We controlled for study group assignment (intervention versus usual care) as well as patient characteristics in a multivariable analysis. We performed three separate multivariable analyses for predictors of provider-patient discussions about (1) weight gain, (2) nutrition, and (3) exercise.
The cohort consisted of 311 predominantly low-income prenatal patients receiving care at several sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prepregnancy body mass index, nutrition knowledge, maternal age, parity, and type of insurance were not significantly associated with receipt of counseling about weight gain, nutrition, and exercise. In the multivariable analysis, white women were significantly less likely to be counseled about nutrition than non-white women (p=0.02). Former smokers were more likely to receive counseling about nutrition and exercise than never smokers (p<0.05). More advanced gestational age was associated with a higher rate of counseling on weight gain (p=0.01).
Despite having the highest rates of excessive weight gain nationally, white women were the least likely to receive counseling about nutrition during pregnancy. Interventions that prompt clinicians and simplify counseling may improve counseling rates for all patients during prenatal care.
PMCID: PMC3366096  PMID: 22111873
17.  The Effect of the WIC Program on the Health of Newborns 
Health Services Research  2010;45(4):1083-1104.
To determine the effect of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on birth outcomes.
Data Source
The Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). The PSID provides extensive data on the income and well-being of a representative sample of U.S. families from 1968 to present. The CDS collects information on the children in PSID families ranging from cognitive, behavioral, and health status to their family and neighborhood environment. The first two waves of the CDS were conducted in 1997 and 2002, respectively. We use information on 3,181 children and their mothers.
Study Design
We use propensity score matching with multiple imputations to examine whether WIC program influences birth outcomes: birth weight, prematurity, maternal report of the infant's health, small for gestational age, and placement in the neonatal intensive care unit. Furthermore, we use a fixed-effects model to examine the above outcomes controlling for mother-specific unobservables.
Principal Findings
After using propensity scores to adjust for confounding factors, WIC shows no statistically significant effects for any of six outcomes. Fixed-effects models, however, reveal some effects that are statistically significant and fairly substantial in size. These involve preterm birth and birth weight.
Overall, the WIC program had moderate effects, but findings were sensitive to the estimation method used.
PMCID: PMC2910570  PMID: 20459450
WIC; birth outcomes; propensity score; multiple imputations; fixed-effects model
18.  Association between Nutrition Label Reading and Nutrient Intake in Korean Adults: Korea National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, 2007-2009 (KNHANES IV) 
Korean Journal of Family Medicine  2014;35(4):190-198.
Nutrition labels provide various information on the nutrient contents of food. However, despite the recent increase in the interest in dietary intake and expansion of related policies, studies on the association between nutrition label reading and dietary intake are lacking in Korea.
This study analyzed the 2007-2009 KNHANES (Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data. To examine macronutrients and micronutrients intake according to nutrition label reading, analysis of covariance was used. Multiple logistic regression analysis was also used to examine the association between adherence to dietary reference intake and nutrition label reading.
Nutrition label reading was significantly high among women, youth, and those with high education and high household income. Nutrition label reading was associated with higher intake of calcium and vitamin C in men and the lower intake of calorie, carbohydrates and higher energy ratio of protein in women. Additionally, male nutrition label readers were associated with adherence to dietary reference intake of fiber (odds ratio [OR], 2.00; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.23 to 3.26) and calcium (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.54). In women, there were no significant differences in the adherence to the dietary reference intake in fat, fiber, sodium, potassium, and calcium according to the nutrition label reading.
In men, nutrition label reading was associated with healthier intake of several micronutrients, although this was not observed in women. Consideration for clearly reporting vulnerable micronutrients in nutrition labels is necessary.
PMCID: PMC4129246  PMID: 25120890
Food Labeling; Food Habits; Recommended Dietary Allowances
19.  Using community volunteers to promote exclusive breastfeeding in Sokoto State, Nigeria 
Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) refers to the practice of feeding breast milk only, (including expressed breast milk) to infants; and excluding water, other liquids, breast milk substitutes, and solid foods. Inadequately breastfed infants are likely to be undernourished and have childhood infections. EBF knowledge and infant feeding practices have not been studied sufficiently in Sokoto State, Nigeria. We describe the results of a randomized community trial to promote Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) in two local government areas Kware and Bodinga selected as intervention and control groups respectively.
During advocacy meetings with community leaders, a Committee was formed. Members of the Committee were consulted for informed consent and selection of ten female volunteers who would educate mothers about breastfeeding during home visits. Participants comprised mothers of infants who were breastfeeding at the time of the study. A total of 179 mothers were recruited through systematic random sampling from each community. Volunteers conducted in-person interviews using a structured questionnaire and counseled mothers in the intervention group only.
At baseline, intervention and control groups differed significantly regarding maternal occupation (P=0.07), and age of the index child (P=0.07). 42% of infants in the intervention group were up to 6 months old and about 30% of them were exclusively breastfed. Intention to EBF was significantly associated with maternal age (P=0.01), education (P=0.00) and women who were exclusively breastfeeding (P=0.00). After counseling, all infants up to 6 months of age were exclusively breastfed. The proportion of mothers with intention to EBF increased significantly with maternal age (P=0.00), occupation (P=0.00) and women who were exclusively breastfeeding (P=0.01). Post-intervention surveys showed that source of information and late initiation of breastfeeding was not significantly associated with intention to EBF. Mothers who reported practicing EBF for 6 months, were older (P=0.00) multi-parous (P=0.05) and more educated (P=0.00) compared to those who did not practice EBF. Among them, significantly increased proportion of women agreed that EBF should be continued during the night (P=0.03), infant should be fed on demand (P=0.05), sick child could be given medication (P=0.02), EBF offered protection against childhood diarrhea (P=0.01), and helped mothers with birth spacing (P=0.00).
This study shows that there is a need for reaching women with reliable information about infant nutrition in Sokoto State. The results show decreased EBF practice among working mothers, young women, mothers with poor education and fewer than five children. Counseling is a useful strategy for promoting the duration of EBF for six months and for developing support systems for nursing mothers. Working mothers may need additional resources in this setting to enable them to practice EBF.
PMCID: PMC3282933  PMID: 22187590
Exclusive Breast Feeding; community interventions; health promotion; Nigeria
20.  Chronic Maternal Depression Is Associated with Reduced Weight Gain in Latino Infants from Birth to 2 Years of Age 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e16737.
Latino children are at increased risk for mirconutrient deficiencies and problems of overweight and obesity. Exposures in pregnancy and early postpartum may impact future growth trajectories.
To evaluate the relationship between prenatal and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms experienced in pregnancy and infant growth from birth to 2 years of age in a cohort of Latino infants.
We recruited pregnant Latina mothers at two San Francisco hospitals and followed their healthy infants to 24 months of age. At 6, 12 and 24 months of age, infants were weighed and measured. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed prenatally and at 4-6 weeks postpartum. Women who had high depressive symptoms at both time periods were defined as having chronic depression. Logistic mixed models were applied to compare growth curves and risk for overweight and underweight based on exposure to maternal depression.
We followed 181 infants to 24 months. At 12 and 24 months, respectively, 27.4% and 40.5% were overweight, and 5.6% and 2.2% were underweight. Exposure to chronic maternal depression was associated with underweight (OR = 12.12, 95%CI 1.86-78.78) and with reduced weight gain in the first 2 years of life (Coef = -0.48, 95% CI -0.94—0.01) compared with unexposed infants or infants exposed to episodic depression (depression at one time point). Exposure to chronic depression was also associated with reduced risk for overweight in the first 2 years of life (OR 0.28, 95%CI 0.03-0.92).
Exposure to chronic maternal depression in the pre- and postnatal period was associated with reduced weight gain in the first two years of life and greater risk for failure to thrive, in comparison with unexposed infants or those exposed episodically. The infants of mothers with chronic depression may need additional nutritional monitoring and intervention.
PMCID: PMC3044151  PMID: 21373638
21.  Household Income, Maternal Acculturation, Maternal Education Level and Health Behaviors of Chinese-American Children and Mothers 
A cross-sectional study was conducted to examine factors associated with health behaviors, including physical activity and dietary intake, of Chinese women who have immigrated to the United States and their children.
Using convenience sampling, a total of 65 Chinese-American children and their mothers in the San Francisco Bay Area participated in the study.
Information related to children’s weight, height, level of physical activity (Caltrac accelerometer), and dietary intake (Kids’ food frequency questionnaire) was collected using standardized instruments. Mothers completed questionnaires regarding household income, their levels of education and acculturation (Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale), dietary intake (SWAN Food Frequency Questionnaire), and level of physical activity (Seven-day physical activity recall).
36.9% (n = 24) of the children were overweight (body mass index higher than the 85th percentile). A high household income was related to low maternal body mass index (R2 = .08, P= .04), high maternal fat intake (R2 = .21, P = .0001), and high maternal intake of sweets (R2 = .08, P = .033), and a high level of maternal acculturation was related to low body mass index in children (R2 = .07, P = .034).
The results suggest that an intervention aimed at reducing obesity and promoting health behaviors must be appropriate for different ethnic groups with various incomes and levels of acculturation.
PMCID: PMC2883249  PMID: 18306042
SES; Acculturation; Chinese-American; Health beahvior; Children; Women
22.  The evaluation of Mothers’ participation project in children's growth and development process: Using the CIPP evaluation model 
Assessment of national children's growth indicated a high prevalence of growth failure among them. Many previous projects have studied the children's growth and nutrition status; but most of them leave it without evaluation. The aim of this study was to evaluate Mothers’ Participation Project that carried out in Isfahan after passing two years.
Materials and Methods:
In this descriptive and summative evaluation study, 90 mother and child pairs were enrolled. They were studied in two case and control groups. We used CIPP Evaluation Model (Context, Input, Process, Product). Data collected using children growth chart and questionnaire was used in the project. Obtained data were analyzed by nonparametric statistical tests.
The results showed significant differences between the two groups in following items; mean of maternal self-esteem (P < 0.001), maternal performance in training others (P = 0.006), weekly study time (P = 0.004), frequency of mothers participation in education programs (P = 0.002), their knowledge about the growth monitoring card (P = 0.03), their ability in drawing growth curves (P < 0.001), mothers knowledge about types of growth curves (P = 0.001) and the objectives of growth monitoring (P < 0.001).
Considering the sustained improvement of maternal knowledge and function regarding children's growth and development after two years of participation in the project, the performance of CIPP model was confirmed in this field.
PMCID: PMC3778559  PMID: 24083271
Children's growth; CIPP evaluation models; evaluation; education; mothers’ participation
23.  Using linked program and birth records to evaluate coverage and targeting in Tennessee's WIC program. 
Public Health Reports  1991;106(2):176-181.
Public health nutrition programs are intended to serve low-income families who are at greater nutritional risk than the general population. Not all persons who are program-eligible are at equal risk, however. It would be desirable to evaluate a program's ability to enroll persons from higher risk backgrounds in the population (coverage) and, conversely, the extent to which those enrolled in this program are at higher risk (targeting). A method for the evaluation of coverage and targeting was developed using data from the Tennessee Women, Infants, and Children Special Supplemental Food Program (WIC) linked with birth certificates. The linked computer file was created by matching the name and date of birth in both record files. The birth records were the common source of information used to characterize the risk background for both the WIC and non-WIC participants. Maternal sociodemographic information on the birth records was used to define the health risk background of each child. The coverage and targeting of "at-risk" children were computed and compared for 50 counties or county-aggregates in Tennessee. Considerable variation in the coverage and targeting rates of at-risk children was observed among Tennessee counties, although the counties within each WIC administrative region tended to have similar coverage and targeting patterns. Using the existing data in linked program and vital records provides a direct evaluation of a program. Coverage and targeting evaluation can be used to detect underserved populations within small geographic areas.
PMCID: PMC1580230  PMID: 1902310
24.  Mothers' education but not fathers' education, household assets or land ownership is the best predictor of child health inequalities in rural Uganda 
Health and nutrition inequality is a result of a complex web of factors that include socio-economic inequalities. Various socio-economic indicators exist however some do not accurately predict inequalities in children. Others are not intervention feasible.
To examine the association of four socio-economic indicators namely: mothers' education, fathers' education, household asset index, and land ownership with growth stunting, which is used as a proxy for health and nutrition inequalities among infants and young children.
This was a cross-sectional survey conducted in the rural district of Hoima, Uganda. Two-stage cluster sampling design was used to obtain 720 child/mother pairs. Information on indicators of household socio-economic status and child anthropometry was gathered by administering a structured questionnaire to mothers in their home settings. Regression modelling was used to determine the association of socio-economic indicators with stunting.
One hundred seventy two (25%) of the studied children were stunted, of which 105 (61%) were boys (p < 0.001). Bivariate analysis indicated a higher prevalence of stunting among children of: non-educated mothers compared to mothers educated above primary school (odds ratio (OR) 2.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4–4.4); non-educated fathers compared to fathers educated above secondary school (OR 1.7, 95% CI 0.8–3.5); households belonging in the "poorest" quintile for the asset index compared to the "least poor" quintile (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.2–3.7); Land ownership exhibited no differentials with stunting. Simultaneously adjusting all socio-economic indicators in conditional regression analysis left mothers' education as the only independent predictor of stunting with children of non-educated mothers significantly more likely to be stunted compared to those of mothers educated above primary school (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1–3.9). More boys than girls were significantly stunted in poorer than wealthier socio-economic strata.
Of four socio-economic indicators, mothers' education is the best predictor for health and nutrition inequalities among infants and young children in rural Uganda. This suggests a need for appropriate formal education of the girl child aimed at promoting child health and nutrition. The finding that boys are adversely affected by poverty more than their female counterparts corroborates evidence from previous studies.
PMCID: PMC529301  PMID: 15482596
Child health; inequalities; stunting; socio-economic; targeting; mother education; Uganda
25.  The Association between Early Childhood Overweight and Maternal Factors 
Childhood Obesity  2012;8(5):449-454.
Early childhood obesity, like other health disparities, disproportionately affects low-income populations. The purpose of this study is to determine the association between maternal sociodemographic factors and child overweight and obesity in a sample of low-income Mexican Americans.
The current study is a secondary analysis of baseline data that were collected as part of a longitudinal study of 374 children aged 12–24 months receiving Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services in a large metropolitan area in central/south Texas. Measures used in this secondary analysis were: Measured weight and height of the child and mother to calculate weight-for-stature and BMI, respectively; maternal sociodemographic variables (age, education, marital status, employment status, and nativity); maternal acculturation level; and child breastfed status. Descriptive statistics are reported as frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations (SD). Chi-squared Fisher exact tests assessed differences in maternal factors by child weight (healthy weight and overweight). Odds ratios (OR), 95% confidence intervals (CI), and levels of significance are reported.
Of the 372 mothers, most were young (mean age 26.1 years, SD=6.1), 47.3% had graduated high school, 33.6% were employed at the time of the study, and 72.1% were U.S. born. No significant differences were observed for the maternal factors by child weight-for-stature z-score. However, maternal BMI statistically differed by child weight. Healthy weight mothers were more likely to have healthy weight children than overweight mothers. Maternal nativity and maternal acculturation were not statistically associated with child weight in this sample of low-income Mexican Americans.
The findings of the current study reinforce the importance of addressing the influence of maternal sociodemographic factors on child weight, in particular, maternal weight. A more comprehensive investigation of ecological factors' influence on obesity onset and control in young Mexican-American children is needed.
PMCID: PMC3647485  PMID: 23181894

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