New Research Fund Focuses On Nutrition And Adolescent Women

November 24, 2015

veggiesThe Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science announces funding for nine research projects designed to build scientific evidence in the area of adolescent women’s nutrition from Harlem to Harare; each project will receive up to $50,000.

The grants fall under the umbrella of The Research Fund, a newly created initiative that will support a community of researchers and stimulate the exchange of information about methodological issues and findings in this critical, but under-studied, area.

While adolescence is important for the spike in physical growth and development that occurs, it is also a period of opportunity. During this time period, young women may have a chance to remedy nutrition-related issues that occur earlier in life, as well as optimize nutritional status before conception, which has positive effects on both adult women and their offspring. However, there is a dearth of evidence on both the optimal timing and effect of improving nutrition factors for women during adolescence. This lack of research is especially pronounced in low- and middle-income countries, where the potential benefit of effective interventions is high, but the resources to conduct research are low.

The Sackler Institute created The Research Fund, a collaborative research initiative, based on a high-level convening of infant and maternal nutrition experts in 2014, in collaboration with the Division of Human Nutrition at Wageningen University, which emphasized the need to use existing datasets from intervention and observation. All projects being funded by The Research Fund use existing datasets from around the world to extract and analyze information related to adolescent nutrition.

“We are so pleased to present our first portfolio of studies within The Research Fund, which utilizes data from low- and middle-income countries, and represents population groups confronted with micronutrient deficiencies, under-nutrition, and obesity,” says Mireille Mclean, MPH, Associate Director, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science.

This  network of researchers will achieve multiple goals, including:

  • Obtain a refined picture ofadolescent women’s nutritional status (micronutrient deficiencies, stunting, obesity), and how it relates to their diet, puberty, body composition, and health outcomes;
  • Fully understand the role of diet as it relates to risk factors, unsafe environments, and education among adolescent women; and
  • Fine-tune knowledge of dietary behavior and health-seeking practices among adolescent women.

The Research Fund will host a platform for information sharing across projects, with the goal of creating a more complete knowledge base of global adolescent women’s health from which to create and assess nutrition interventions.

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The list of initial grantees is:

– Linda Adair, PhD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for the project:

“A life-course perspective on adolescent nutrition in the Philippines”

– Jere Behrman, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, for the project:

“Drivers and mediating factors of nutritional status in adolescent women and their children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam”

– Kathryn Dewey, PhD, University of California, Davis, for the project:

“Nutritional status and birth outcomes in pregnant adolescent women in rural Bangladesh”

– Yuna He, PhD, National Institute for Nutrition and Health, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, for the project:

“Nutritional statues and dietary intake of Chinese adolescent women”

– Jef Leroy, PhD, International Food Policy Research Institute, for the project:

“Understanding the determinants of adolescent women’s nutritional status in Bangladesh: analyses of the 2012-13 nationally representative Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey”

– Radhika Madhari, PhD, National Institute of Nutrition (Indian Council of Medical Research), for the project:

“Diet and nutrient adequacy, nutritional status and its determinants among adolescent and adult women in India – Secondary analysis of the datasets of rural and tribal populations of the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, India”

– Zandile Mchiza, PhD, Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, for the project:

“The girl – adult woman comparison study: the nutritional status and metabolic disease risk profile of South African women (10+ years)”

– Shane Norris, PhD, MRC Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, for the project:

“Longitudinal model of urban adolescent nutritional status: risk factors and consequences (South Africa)”

– Kate Ward, PhD, MRC Human Nutrition Research, for the project:

Dietary determinants of nutritional status among Gambian adolescent girls and young women” 

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