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PLOS Medicine Special Issue: Maternal and Child Health & Nutrition

The editors of PLOS Medicine, together with guest editors Lars Åke Persson, Kathleen M. Rasmussen and Huixia Yang, announce a forthcoming Special Issue dedicated to the role of Nutrition in Maternal and Child Health. Research submissions are now being invited.

We’ve extended the submission deadline! The new deadline for research submissions is March 15th.

Nearly one in three persons suffers from at least one form of malnutrition, including undernutrition, inadequate micronutrients levels, overweight, obesity and resulting diet-related non-communicable diseases [1,2]. Different forms of malnutrition can occur at population, household or individual levels across the life course and have dramatic consequences on development, health and society. Simultaneously it has become increasingly clear that in many parts of the world maternal, newborn and child health outcomes have shifted from being predominantly impacted by direct obstetric causes to an increasing proportion of indirect causes, many of which are related to nutrition [3]. Women with diabetes, anemia or who are overweight are at a higher risk of childbirth-related complications and their newborns are also at a higher risk of experiencing adverse health outcomes later in life [4]. There is therefore a need to take a life-cycle approach and acknowledge the importance of nutrition for maternal and child health.

PLOS Medicine is delighted to be working on this Special Issue with Guest Editors Lars Åke Persson, Professor in Public Health Evaluation at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and based at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Kathleen Rasmussen, the Nancy Schlegel Meinig Professor of Maternal and Child Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, and Huixia Yang, Professor and Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Peking University First Hospital. Alongside research articles aiming to advance clinical practice or health policy, the Special Issue will include commissioned commentaries by leaders in the field.

For this Special Issue of PLOS Medicine, we welcome high quality primary research articles that address the health of the mother and child as well as aspects of nutrition that lie within one or more of the following crosscutting perspectives:

  • Social and nutritional transitions have, especially in low- and middle-income countries and resource-constrained regions of high-income countries, led to serious consequences for the nutrition and health of the mother–child dyad. Concomitant obesity, overweight and underweight in communities and families against the background of a rapidly changing society are challenges for health services as well as other sectors of society, and research investigating clinical or epidemiological aspects of these social and nutritional transitions as well as interventions and policies targeting these are thus of interest.
  • Maternal and infant nutrition: Maternal nutritional status encompassing the periods before, during, between, and after pregnancy, including while breastfeeding, and infant nutrition in the crucial first 1,000 days have an impact on fetal development, pregnancy complications, birth outcomes and child health. We particularly welcome clinical trials and other practice-changing research investigating the role of nutritional risk factors on complications of pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, hypertension or infectious diseases; prenatal, maternal and infant food and micronutrient supplementation; as well as infant and young child feeding practices.
  • Continuum of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition has been used to describe the integrated services delivered for mother and child. The continuum could be extended from pre-pregnancy of the mother through childhood of the offspring. Families, communities and the health system provide these services, and the gaps in services in most societies lead to lost opportunities and severe consequences for nutrition and for the health of mother and child. Public health and clinical studies as well as implementation research focusing on these issues are welcome.
  • Developmental origin of health and disease (DOHaD) perspective potentially covers the period before conception and continuing up to adulthood or parts thereof and focuses on one generation or across generations. Clinically-relevant genetic and epigenetic epidemiology or mechanistic studies and intervention trials investigating the parental influence on the future health of offspring later in life are of interest—these could be limited to the mother and/or also address the effects of paternal exposures.

Please submit your manuscript at: and ensure that you mention this call for papers in your cover letter. The deadline is March 8th, 2019.

Submissions not selected for PLOS Medicine may be offered transfer to PLOS ONE, before or after peer review, with the prospect of inclusion in an accompanying PLOS ONE Collection.

Questions about the special issue can be directed to


Featured Image Credit: Skitterphoto, Pixabay


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