Overall and supporting messages
Overall message -detail 6 months
6-24 months
Communication summary
Further reading
20 Questions and Answers

Media information for National Nutrition Week 2011

Feeding Smart from the Start.
Overall and supporting messages.

print full media information           print Questions and Answers



According to the 2011 Millennium Development Goals report Nutrition must be given higher priority in national development if the MDGs are to be achieved. A number of simple, cost-effective measures delivered at key stages of the life cycle, particularly from conception to two years after birth, could greatly reduce undernutrition. These measures include improved maternal nutrition and care, breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, and timely, adequate, safe, and appropriate complementary feeding and micronutrient intake between 6 and 24 months of age.   Urgent, accelerated and concerted actions are needed to deliver and scale up such interventions to achieve MDG 1 and other health-related goals.”

The Department of Health in South Africa is guided by the Policy on Infant and Young Child Feeding. This policy is based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF regarding optimal infant feeding; as described in the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding (2002).   The policy recognizes two important phases of infant feeding; namely exclusively breastfeeding from birth until 6 months of age, followed by complementary feeding (breastfeeding and other foods) until 2 years of age.

Based on evidence of the effectiveness of interventions, achievement of universal coverage of optimal breastfeeding could prevent 13% of deaths occurring in children less than 5 years of age globally. Appropriate complementary feeding practices would result in an additional 6% reduction in under-five mortality (Jones et al, 2003).