Assessing breastmilk intake in infants using stable isotope techniques: IAEA support for AFRA Member States

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is mandated within the human health programme to seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to preace, health and prosperity throughout the world. The objective is to enhance the capabilities of IAEA Member States in addressing issues related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health problems through the development and application of nuclear techniques, within a framework of quality assurance.

As part of this objective, IAEA is working with Member States of the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to nuclear sciences and technology (AFRA) to assess intake of human milk in breastfed infants using stable isotope techniques and to relate breastmilk intake with mothers nutritional status and growth of children.

Specifically, the projects seeks to:

  1. Estimate volume of breast-milk consumed by breastfeeding infants at 3, 6, 9 and 12 (upto 24) months following a delivery in AFRA countries
  2. Determine mother’s body composition during lactation
  3. Correlate breast-milk consumption to mother’s body composition and inter-current morbidity
  4. Determine proportion of women reporting exclusive breastfeeding and compare to proportion determined from Deuterium based techniques (Validate mother’s reports of exclusive breastfeeding)
  5. Determine effect of mixed feeding and complementary feeding on volume of breastmilk consumed by the baby
  6. Correlate infant growth, body composition, morbidity and mortality to mode of feeding and volume of consumed milk

The IAEA is among the governors of the IMTF and as part of the collaborative efforts, the IMTF would through the website provide general information regarding the project as well as a forum between the AFRA countries and researchers involved in the project.

IAEA Human Health Series No.7 “Stable Isotope Technique to Assess Intake of Human Milk in Breastfed Infants” can be downloaded using this link or purchased (Price 32 Euro) from IAEA publications

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