Martin W. Bloem
Bio: Martin W. Bloem is an academic researcher from Johns Hopkins University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Population & Malnutrition. The author has an hindex of 44, co-authored 135 publications receiving 7125 citations. Previous affiliations of Martin W. Bloem include Helen Keller International & United Nations.
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: This paper assesses the impact of the crises on food consumption, nutrition, and health in the developing world using risk analysis using the cost of the food basket, assessment surveys, simulations, and regression analysis using a food consumption score (FCS), reflecting diet frequency and diversity.
Abstract: A global economic and financial crisis is engulfing the developing world, coming on top of high food and fuel prices. This paper assesses the impact of the crises on food consumption, nutrition, and health. Several methods were applied, including risk analysis using the cost of the food basket, assessment surveys, simulations, regression analysis using a food consumption score (FCS), reflecting diet frequency and diversity, and a review of the impact of such dietary changes on nutritional status and health. The cost of the food basket increased in several countries, forcing households to reduce quality and quantity of food consumed. The FCS, which is a measure of diet diversity, is negatively correlated with food prices. Simulations show that energy consumption declined during 2006-2010 in nearly all developing regions, resulting potentially in an additional 457 million people (of 4.5 billion) at risk of being hungry and many more unable to afford the dietary quality required to perform, develop, and grow well. As a result of the crises, large numbers of vulnerable households have reduced the quality and quantity of foods they consume and are at risk of increased malnutrition. Population groups most affected are those with the highest requirements, including young children, pregnant and lactating women, and the chronically ill (particularly people with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis). Because undernutrition during the first 2 y of life has life-long consequences, even short-term price rises will have long-term effects. Thus, measures to mitigate the impact of the crises are urgently required.
TL;DR: Although vitamin A deficiency is recognized to cause anemia, ‘vitamin A deficiency anemia’ lacks complete characterization as a distinct clinical entity, and further work is needed to elucidate the biological mechanisms by which vitamin A causes anemia.
Abstract: Objective: To gain insight into vitamin A deficiency as a cause of anemia. Methods: Comprehensive review of the scientific literature. Results: Although vitamin A deficiency is recognized to cause anemia, ‘vitamin A deficiency anemia’ lacks complete characterization as a distinct clinical entity. Vitamin A appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of anemia through diverse biological mechanisms, such as the enhancement of growth and differentiation of erythrocyte progenitor cells, potentiation of immunity to infection and reduction of the anemia of infection, and mobilization of iron stores from tissues. Epidemiological surveys show that the prevalence of anemia is high in populations affected by vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. Improvement of vitamin A status has generally been shown to reduce anemia, but the actual public health impact on anemia is unclear. Conclusions: Further work is needed to elucidate the biological mechanisms by which vitamin A causes anemia. The inclusion of anemia as an outcome measure in future micronutrient intervention studies should help provide further insight into the anemia of vitamin A deficiency.
TL;DR: In Indonesia, high levels of maternal and paternal education were both associated with protective caregiving behaviours, including vitamin A capsule receipt, complete childhood immunisations, better sanitation, and use of iodised salt.
Abstract: Summary Background Child stunting is associated with poor child development and increased mortality. Our aim was to determine the effect of length of maternal and paternal education on stunting in children under the age of 5 years. Methods Data for indicators of child growth and of parental education and socioeconomic status were gathered from 590 570 families in Indonesia and 395 122 families in Bangladesh as part of major nutritional surveillance programmes. Findings The prevalence of stunting in families in Indonesia was 33·2%, while that in Bangladesh was 50·7%. In Indonesia, greater maternal formal education led to a decrease of between 4·4% and 5% in the odds of child stunting (odds ratio per year 0·950, 95% CI 0·946–0·954 in rural settings; 0·956, 0·950–0·961 in urban settings); greater paternal formal education led to a decrease of 3% in the odds of child stunting (0·970, 0·967–0·974). In Bangladesh, greater maternal formal education led to a 4·6% decrease in the odds of child stunting (0·954, 0·951–0·957), while greater paternal formal education led to a decrease of between 2·9% and 5·4% in the odds of child stunting (0·971, 0·969–0·974 in rural settings; 0·946, 0·941–0·951 in urban settings). In Indonesia, high levels of maternal and paternal education were both associated with protective caregiving behaviours, including vitamin A capsule receipt, complete childhood immunisations, better sanitation, and use of iodised salt (all p Interpretation Both maternal and paternal education are strong determinants of child stunting in families in Indonesia and Bangladesh.
TL;DR: Reduced dietary diversity is a strong predictor of stunting in rural Bangladesh and the inclusion of a variety of food groups into complementary foods may be essential to improve child nutritional status.
Abstract: Dietary diversity is associated with overall quality and nutrient adequacy of the diet in low-income countries. We determined the association between dietary diversity and stunting among children aged 6–59 months in rural Bangladesh. In total, 165 111 under-fives who participated in the National Surveillance Project in 2003–2005 were included in the analysis. Dietary diversity score (DDS) was constructed through the summation of the number of days each of the nine food groups was consumed in the previous week. The association between stunting and DDS was determined adjusting for confounders using logistic regression models. All analyses were performed separately for children aged 6–11, 12–23 and 24–59 months. One-half of the children were stunted. In multivariate analyses, compared with low DDS, high dietary diversity was associated with a 15, 26 and 31% reduced odds of being stunted among children aged 6–11, 12–23 and 24–59 months, respectively, after adjusting for all potential confounders (odds ratio (OR)=0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.76–0.94; OR=0.74, 95% CI: 0.69–0.79; OR=0.69, 95% CI: 0.66–0.73). In all groups, children who were still breastfed were more likely to have limited diversity (OR=1.88, 95% CI: 1.32–2.67; OR=1.71, 95% CI: 1.52–1.92; OR=1.15, 95% CI: 1.11–1.19). Those having diarrhea in the past week and coming from families with low socioeconomic status were more likely to have decreased diversity (P<0.05). Reduced dietary diversity is a strong predictor of stunting in rural Bangladesh. The inclusion of a variety of food groups into complementary foods may be essential to improve child nutritional status.
TL;DR: Low dietary diversity during the period prior to major food price increases indicates potential risk for worsening of micronutrient deficiencies and child malnutrition in Bangladesh.
Abstract: In Bangladesh, rice prices are known to be positively associated with the prevalence of child underweight and inversely associated with household nongrain food expenditures, an indicator of dietary quality. The collection of reliable data on household expenditures is relatively time consuming and requires extensive training. Simple dietary diversity scores are increasingly used as measures of food security and as proxies for nutrient adequacy. This study examines associations between a simple dietary diversity score and commonly used indicators of socioeconomic status in Bangladesh. Data representative of rural Bangladesh was collected from 188,835 households over 18 rounds of bi-monthly data collection from 2003-2005. A simple household dietary diversity score was developed by summing the number of days each household consumed an item from each of 7 food groups over a 7-d period. The dietary diversity score was associated with per capita nongrain food expenditures (r = 0.415), total food expenditures (r = 0.327), and total household expenditures (r = 0.332) using Spearman correlations (all P < 0.0001). The frequency of meat and egg consumption showed greater variation across quintiles of total monthly expenditure than other items contributing to the dietary diversity score. After controlling for other measures of socioeconomic status in multiple linear regression models, the dietary diversity score was significantly associated with monthly per capita food and total expenditures. Low dietary diversity during the period prior to major food price increases indicates potential risk for worsening of micronutrient deficiencies and child malnutrition in Bangladesh.
TL;DR: The high mortality and disease burden resulting from these nutrition-related factors make a compelling case for the urgent implementation of interventions to reduce their occurrence or ameliorate their consequences.
Abstract: Maternal and child undernutrition is highly prevalent in low-income and middle-income countries, resulting in substantial increases in mortality and overall disease burden. In this paper, we present new analyses to estimate the effects of the risks related to measures of undernutrition, as well as to suboptimum breastfeeding practices on mortality and disease. We estimated that stunting, severe wasting, and intrauterine growth restriction together were responsible for 2·2 million deaths and 21% of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for children younger than 5 years. Deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc were estimated to be responsible for 0·6 million and 0·4 million deaths, respectively, and a combined 9% of global childhood DALYs. Iron and iodine deficiencies resulted in few child deaths, and combined were responsible for about 0·2% of global childhood DALYs. Iron deficiency as a risk factor for maternal mortality added 115 000 deaths and 0·4% of global total DALYs. Suboptimum breastfeeding was estimated to be responsible for 1·4 million child deaths and 44 million DALYs (10% of DALYs in children younger than 5 years). In an analysis that accounted for co-exposure of these nutrition-related factors, they were together responsible for about 35% of child deaths and 11% of the total global disease burden. The high mortality and disease burden resulting from these nutrition-related factors make a compelling case for the urgent implementation of interventions to reduce their occurrence or ameliorate their consequences.
TL;DR: To eliminate stunting in the longer term, existing interventions that were designed to improve nutrition and prevent related disease could reduce stunting at 36 months by 36%; mortality between birth and 36 monthsBy about 25%; and disability-adjusted life-years associated with stunting, severe wasting, intrauterine growth restriction, and micronutrient deficiencies by about 25%.
Abstract: We reviewed interventions that affect maternal and child undernutrition and nutrition-related outcomes. These interventions included promotion of breastfeeding; strategies to promote complementary feeding, with or without provision of food supplements; micronutrient interventions; general supportive strategies to improve family and community nutrition; and reduction of disease burden (promotion of handwashing and strategies to reduce the burden of malaria in pregnancy). We showed that although strategies for breastfeeding promotion have a large effect on survival, their effect on stunting is small. In populations with sufficient food, education about complementary feeding increased height-for-age Z score by 0.25 (95% CI 0.01-0.49), whereas provision of food supplements (with or without education) in populations with insufficient food increased the height-for-age Z score by 0.41 (0.05-0.76). Management of severe acute malnutrition according to WHO guidelines reduced the case-fatality rate by 55% (risk ratio 0.45, 0.32-0.62), and recent studies suggest that newer commodities, such as ready-to-use therapeutic foods, can be used to manage severe acute malnutrition in community settings. Effective micronutrient interventions for pregnant women included supplementation with iron folate (which increased haemoglobin at term by 12 g/L, 2.93-21.07) and micronutrients (which reduced the risk of low birthweight at term by 16% (relative risk 0.84, 0.74-0.95). Recommended micronutrient interventions for children included strategies for supplementation of vitamin A (in the neonatal period and late infancy), preventive zinc supplements, iron supplements for children in areas where malaria is not endemic, and universal promotion of iodised salt. We used a cohort model to assess the potential effect of these interventions on mothers and children in the 36 countries that have 90% of children with stunted linear growth. The model showed that existing interventions that were designed to improve nutrition and prevent related disease could reduce stunting at 36 months by 36%; mortality between birth and 36 months by about 25%; and disability-adjusted life-years associated with stunting, severe wasting, intrauterine growth restriction, and micronutrient deficiencies by about 25%. To eliminate stunting in the longer term, these interventions should be supplemented by improvements in the underlying determinants of undernutrition, such as poverty, poor education, disease burden, and lack of women's empowerment.
TL;DR: The evidence supports the need for considerable investment in adaptation and mitigation actions toward a “climate-smart food system” that is more resilient to climate change influences on food security.
Abstract: Climate change could potentially interrupt progress toward a world without hunger. A robust and coherent global pattern is discernible of the impacts of climate change on crop productivity that could have consequences for food availability. The stability of whole food systems may be at risk under climate change because of short-term variability in supply. However, the potential impact is less clear at regional scales, but it is likely that climate variability and change will exacerbate food insecurity in areas currently vulnerable to hunger and undernutrition. Likewise, it can be anticipated that food access and utilization will be affected indirectly via collateral effects on household and individual incomes, and food utilization could be impaired by loss of access to drinking water and damage to health. The evidence supports the need for considerable investment in adaptation and mitigation actions toward a “climate-smart food system” that is more resilient to climate change influences on food security.
University of Melbourne1, Royal Children's Hospital2, Columbia University3, World Health Organization4, University of London5, American University of Beirut6, University of Oregon7, Public Health Foundation of India8, University College London9, Burnet Institute10, United Nations Population Fund11, Aga Khan University12, University of Toronto13, Obafemi Awolowo University14, Jawaharlal Nehru University15, UNICEF16, Kunming Medical University17
TL;DR: This Commission outlines the opportunities and challenges for investment in adolescent health and wellbeing at both country and global levels (panel 1).
Abstract: Unprecedented global forces are shaping the health and wellbeing of the largest generation of 10 to 24 year olds in human history. Population mobility, global communications, economic development, and the sustainability of ecosystems are setting the future course for this generation and, in turn, humankind. At the same time, we have come to new understandings of adolescence as a critical phase in life for achieving human potential. Adolescence is characterised by dynamic brain development in which the interaction with the social environment shapes the capabilities an individual takes forward into adult life.3 During adolescence, an individual acquires the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and economic resources that are the foundation for later life health and wellbeing. These same resources define trajectories into the next generation. Investments in adolescent health and wellbeing bring benefits today, for decades to come, and for the next generation. Better childhood health and nutrition, extensions to education, delays in family formation, and new technologies offer the possibility of this being the healthiest generation of adolescents ever. But these are also the ages when new and different health problems related to the onset of sexual activity, emotional control, and behaviour typically emerge. Global trends include those promoting unhealthy lifestyles and commodities, the crisis of youth unemployment, less family stability, environmental degradation, armed conflict, and mass migration, all of which pose major threats to adolescent health and wellbeing. Adolescents and young adults have until recently been overlooked in global health and social policy, one reason why they have had fewer health gains with economic development than other age groups. The UN Secretary-General's Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health initiated, in September, 2015, presents an outstanding opportunity for investment in adolescent health and wellbeing. However, because of limits to resources and technical capacities at both the national and the global level, effective response has many challenges. The question of where to make the most effective investments is now pressing for the international development community. This Commission outlines the opportunities and challenges for investment at both country and global levels (panel 1).