Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health


Baby eating

Good nutrition is essential for survival, physical growth, mental development, performance, productivity, health and well-being across the entire life-span: from the earliest stages of fetal development, at birth, and through infancy, childhood, adolescence and on into adulthood.

Infant and young child feeding and nutrition

Breastfeeding and complementary feeding are a critical aspect of caring for infants and young children. Appropriate feeding practices stimulate bonding with the caregiver and psycho-social development. They lead to improved nutrition and physical growth, reduced susceptibility to common childhood illnesses and better resistance to cope with them. Improved health outcomes in young children have long-lasting health effects throughout the life-span, including increased performance and productivity, and reduced risk of certain non-communicable diseases.

The Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA) makes significant investments in the promotion and improvement of infant and young child feeding. The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (see below) provides a framework for the Department's efforts, including the production of technical information, the development of feeding recommendations, supporting research and designing training materials.

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