The Potential Impact of Animal Science Research on Global Maternal and Child Nutrition and Health: A Landscape Review Academic Article uri icon


  • High among the challenges facing mankind as the world population rapidly expands toward 9 billion people by 2050 is the technological development and implementation of sustainable agriculture and food systems to supply abundant and wholesome nutrition. In many low-income societies, women and children are the most vulnerable to food insecurity, and it is unequivocal that quality nutrition during the first 1000 d of life postconception can be transformative in establishing a robust, lifelong developmental trajectory. With the desire to catalyze disruptive advancements in global maternal and child health, this landscape review was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to examine the nutritional and managerial practices used within the food-animal agricultural system that may have relevance to the challenges faced by global human health. The landscape was categorized into a framework spanning 1) preconception, 2) gestation and pregnancy, 3) lactation and suckling, and 4) postweaning and toddler phases. Twelve key findings are outlined, wherein research within the discipline of animal sciences stands to inform the global health community and in some cases identifies gaps in knowledge in which further research is merited. Notable among the findings were 1) the quantitative importance of essential fatty acid and amino acid nutrition in reproductive health, 2) the suggested application of the ideal protein concept for improving the amino acid nutrition of mothers and children, 3) the prospect of using dietary phytase to improve the bioavailability of trace minerals in plant and vegetable-based diets, and 4) nutritional interventions to mitigate environmental enteropathy. The desired outcome of this review was to identify potential interventions that may be worthy of consideration. Better appreciation of the close linkage between human health, medicine, and agriculture will identify opportunities that will enable faster and more efficient innovations in global maternal and child health.

altmetric score

  • 10.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Odle, J., Jacobi, S. K., Boyd, R. D., Bauman, D. E., Anthony, R. V., Bazer, F. W., Lock, A. L., & Serazin, A. C.

citation count

  • 9

publication date

  • March 2017