The Mother and Child Foundation’s work has led to better understanding and insight into the cause of developmental disabilities. It has created hope for improved future maternal health, and in doing so has optimised the cognitive, emotional and educational capabilities of children yet to be born.
However, continued funding is urgently needed to translate the research findings into educational material, and for investment into the prevention of brain disorders before birth via clinical trials and other applications. Our future plans depend on this.
The care, nutrition and health of mothers is a blind spot in many quarters of Government and Aid organisations: hence the shocking increase in low birth weight in the UK, from 6.6% in 1973 to 8% in 2005. Brain disorders have now overtaken all other burdens of ill health – at a cost of £105 billion – for which poor nutrition with inadequate brain-specific essential fats is arguably responsible. Brain disorders are now considered the greatest and most serious health threat of all time.
We wish to establish a community educational centre in London, which would integrate its work on expert training and research with developing countries. The centre would have two priorities: Education and Prevention.
The Mother and Child Foundation can bring together an international consortium of world-class centres currently working independently on nutrition and genomics of maternal and child health.
The elimination of poverty and inequality of health cannot be achieved without addressing its roots in the cycle of deprivation. That means special attention to the conditions of the mother, her nutrition and health before during and after the pregnancy.
- This is especially relevant in developing countries and emergent economies where maternal and perinatal mortality is high. It is hoped our work can reduce the burden of maternal and neonatal mortality, morbidity and the associated impairment of mental development in this way.
- We must focus on education and the dissemination of knowledge in developed economies. Sadly, Government agencies removed the mandatory teaching of home economics, nutrition and health education from the school curriculum, so some students lack critical the knowledge. Many children now grow up with no understanding or knowledge of nutrition, food and their own health. The three-fold increase in child obesity in the last decade and the rise in mental ill-health and brain disorders was a predictable consequence.
- We also need to carry out more research in the most vulnerable groups of people. Recognising that not all low birth weight and prematurity can be prevented, a separate programme is required to address what can be done for those born at low birth weight and preterm and who have a high risk of early death or lifelong lung, heart, brain, visual, auditory or motor disabilities.
We would be pleased to hear from any interested parties who could help with the realisation of this critical community work.
US Future Plans
The US Friends of the Mother and Child Foundation aim to disseminate to mothers, parents and care-givers, teachers and the general public, all scientific findings that support a link between nutrition and mental ill-health. We aim to hold education workshops and training in schools, homeless shelters, prisons and other institutions. We aim to host symposiums about the critical influence a mother’s health and nutrition can have on her unborn child.
In brief, our goal is to educate everyone about the importance of dietary fats to human health.