70% of girls are taller than their mothers, evidence of improved nutritional status - finds MINIMat study

icddr,b has been following a cohort of 3,625 children from 4,436 women since 2001 under a study called MINIMat (Maternal and Infant Nutrition Interventions in Matlab Bangladesh). The mothers were enrolled in the study at about 8 weeks of their pregnancy. The study has resulted in more than 100 publications and many remarkable insights about the effect of micronutrient supplements and timing of food supplementation during pregnancy and, environmental factors, education, socioeconomic status, preterm birth or low birth weight, domestic violence and many other factors on children.   

A dissemination seminar titled "Early exposure and adolescent health and nutrition – The MINIMat children from foetus to 15 years" was held today on 22 November 2022 at icddr, b's Sasakawa Auditorium.

icddr,b's Acting Executive Director Dr Shams El Arifeen, presented an overview of the MINIMat study, and Dr Md Anisur Rahman, Scientist, Maternal and Child Health Division at icddr,b presented on the early life exposures to arsenic, lead, and cadmium to pubertal development of children. Dr Rahman concluded that the girl child of mothers who had high arsenic exposures suffer from delayed menarche – the first occurrence of menstruation by three to four months.

Professor Eva-Charlotte Ekström from Uppsala University, Sweden, presented on the outcome of height, Body-Mass-Index (BMI) of children at 15 years of age and concluded that children's height is positively associated with mother's height, education, and access to resources and negatively associated with domestic violence. It was also found that more than 70% of girls already at age 15 years are taller than their mothers – evidence of improved nutritional status.  

Professor Eero Olavi Kajantie and Dr Pieta Näsänen-Gilmore from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland; Mohammad Redwanul Islam, Doctoral Student, Uppsala University presented on the cardiometabolic risk factors, lung functions, current use of processed foods and sociodemographic factors, preterm birth or low birth weight influencing these physical health factors of the children respectively.

Professor Dr Ahmedul Kabir, Additional Director General, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), graced the seminar as Chief Guest, while Professor Dr Robed Amin, Line Director, Non-communicable Disease Control (NCDC) Program, DGHS; and Dr Md Shamsul Haque, Line Director, Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (MNC&AH) Programme, DGHS attended as special guests and also spoke at the seminar.

Participants from the DGHS, partnered institutions, Uppsala University, THL, and icddr,b also attended the seminar.

Link for the relevant articles –

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33866057/

2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31283046/

3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31810284/