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Concern Launches Campaign for Mothers

Dr Rhona Mahony and Rachel Allen ask 1,000 Irish women to join them in supporting Concern’s 1000 DAYS campaign for better nutrition for mothers


Dr Rhona Mahony, Master of the National Maternity Hospital, recently returned from Sierra Leone with Concern, and Chef Rachel Allen joined forces today to call on Irish women to support Concern’s Mother to Mother campaign to help improve nutrition for mothers in the world’s poorest countries.


Mother to Mother is part of Concern’s 1000 DAYS Campaign which is based on scientific evidence that good nutrition during the 1,000 days from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday is the best guarantee for lifelong health and prosperity.


In much of the developing world women will eat least and eat last – a situation which is being exacerbated with the world’s current surge in food prices. In a time of crisis, women are the first to cut their food consumption. For pregnant or lactating women, the results can be devastating, not just for themselves but for their children. Over one in five children in Sierra Leone are stunted at birth because their mothers don’t have enough to eat during pregnancy. Up to 35% of women in some developing countries are classified as extremely thin.


In Ireland, we are experiencing the opposite problem. Dr Mahony outlined that two in five women attending Dublin’s Holles Street Hospital are overweight. This has pushed up birth weights too, with one in five new babies weighing in at more than 4kg (or 10 lbs). This has serious health implications for the next generation, increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes or coronary health disease.


“Women are powerful, particularly in numbers,” said Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern. “Women’s support for 1000 DAYS will help strengthen Ireland’s hand and encourage governments to put the nutritional needs of women and children first.”


“We have a situation where 1 billion people will go hungry today – and over half of these will be women,” he continued. “Over 1,000 women die in childbirth every day, often caused by preventable nutritional deficiencies like anaemia. Women must be kept healthy to keep current and future generations healthy. “We have to look after the world’s mothers first and foremost.”


Mother to Mother is being generously supported by a wide range of organizations including the National Maternity Hospital, UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA), The Camogie Association, The Irish Times and the parenting website Eumom.


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