Making Things Right for the World's Children
The health, growth and intellectual development of at least one-third of the world's children are all compromised because of malnutrition.
In her role as Canada Research Chair in Social and Environmental Aspects of Nutrition, Grace Marquis examines how inadequate breastfeeding practices, poor quality of complementary foods, deteriorated childcare practices and frequent infections are contributing to this shocking situation.
Breastfeeding is key to infant health and survival. In Ghana, however, as in other countries in Africa where HIV is prevalent, many communities are struggling with infant feeding decisions after human milk was identified as a means of transmitting HIV. In her research program, Marquis focuses on local solutions to improve the safety of infant feeding, decreasing the risk of transmitting the virus while maintaining a well-nourished child.
In addition, Marquis is clarifying the benefits breastfeeding has for children and how different physiological states, such as a new pregnancy or maternal illness, can affect those benefits.
In her work related to preschoolers, Marquis is working on ways to improve the diets of children in Ghana. As in other low-income countries, preschool children suffer from an insufficiency of micronutrients, especially iron. So Marquis and her colleagues have a project that is aimed at ensuring that children get foods that are rich in micronutrients. They're starting up a similar project in Uganda as well.
Marquis' research on child feeding will produce valuable recommendations on ways to ensure the health and well-being of children around the world.
Marquis will also contribute to the International Research Chairs Initiative (IRCI), a new partnership between the International Development Research Centre and the Canada Research Chairs Program.