Maternal and Child Nutrition

The nutritional health of mothers and their children is a central indicator of current and future population health, as the well-being of these individuals determines the overall health of the next generation. In placing an emphasis on maternal and child nutrition, we are able to ensure favorable health outcomes for children in various arenas, from physical growth to emotional development to prevention of chronic diseases, and beyond. Our research addresses the structural factors that influence child and maternal health both domestically and abroad. In doing so, we evaluate how different personal practices, early life characteristics, societal factors, and policy changes effect child and maternal health.

Policy Implications for Maternal and Child Nutrition

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutrition education and specific nutritious food to qualifying, low-income pregnant and lactating women as well as infants and children under the age of 5 years. In 2009, the government made significant changes to the WIC Program, updating the food packages to better align them with current dietary guidelines. Our research centers around the implications of this package change on childhood obesity outcomes, as well as the impact that WIC has on infant feeding practices and the overall health of preschool-aged children. To learn more about WIC and SNAP, please visit our Food Policy page.


Maternal and Child Nutrition in International Settings

Internationally, mothers and children face a unique set of nutritional issues. In these papers, we explore the potential causes and implications of these issues in regions ranging from Scandinavia to Eastern Africa. This collection of research spans infant feeding patterns, the relationship between maternal and child health, nutrition challenges beyond infancy and into childhood, and a handful of other related topics.

Much of research in this section was carried out alongside professionals from other universities and organizations, such as the Ministry of Health in Guinea, Michigan State University, Stockholm University, University of California – Los Angeles, University of Queensland, the Louisiana Department of Public Health, among a few other institutions.

International settings research