Contribution of breastfeeding to vitamin A nutrition of infants: A simulation model

Jay S. Ross, Philip W.J. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: To provide information on the potential contribution to vitamin A nutrition in infants of strategies for improving maternal vitamin A status and increasing the consumption of breast milk. Methods: The contribution of breastfeeding to the vitamin A nutrition of children in eight age groups between 0 and 24 months was simulated under four sets of conditions involving two levels of breast milk consumption with or without maternal vitamin A supplementation. Findings: During the first 6 months, optimal breastfeeding on its own (compared with withholding colostrum and then partially breastfeeding after the first week) was as effective as postpartum maternal supplementation alone, retinol intakes being increased by 59 μg per day and 68 μg per day, respectively. Combined in synergy, these strategies increase retinol intake by 144 μg per day, or 36% of the recommended intake. After 6 months, partial breastfeeding continued to provide a significant proportion of the recommended intakes: 42% from 6-12 months and 61% during the second year. Conclusion: Maternal supplementation with a high dose of vitamin A at the time of delivery and the promotion of optimal breastfeeding practices are highly effective strategies for improving vitamin A nutrition in infants and should be strengthened as key components of comprehensive child survival programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2003


  • Breast feeding/statistics
  • Developing countries
  • Dietary supplements
  • Infant
  • Milk, Human/chemistry
  • Mothers
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Nutritive value
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin A deficiency/prevention and control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Contribution of breastfeeding to vitamin A nutrition of infants: A simulation model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this