Launched last week, the Mission 1000+ campaign will look to work with consumers, HCPs, policymakers and NGOs to improve nutritional knowledge worldwide,
According to Bayer, the ultimate aim of the campaign is to empower parents and parents-to-be to make informed decisions to give their baby the best possible start in life.
“We knew it was important to explore the level of understanding of the role nutrients can play in a child’s development,” says Ella Schaefer, a nutritional scientist at Bayer.
“The findings of this research show how important it is to raise awareness of the first 1000 days.
“We have just completed two major clinical studies on Elevit 2 and Elevit 3, which prove the benefits of once-a-day supplementation to complement maternal diet and ultimately on a baby’s development.”
2nd and 3rd trimesters
The research, which took place in Italy, investigates the effect of adding a soft gel preparation of vitamins, dietary minerals plus omega-3 fatty acid (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA) to the diet of 164 pregnant women.
The research specifically looks at the preparation’s effect during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy and how it can affect the nutritional state of the mother and infants at delivery.
The research follows a similar study back in 2017 by Germany-based researchers that looked at the micronutrient supplement Elevit gynvital and its effect on women of childbearing age.
The study found daily supplementation of 800 IU vitamin D3 during wintertime in Germany was sufficient to achieve a 25(OH)D level of at least 50 nmol/L in almost all women of childbearing age, whereas 200 IU was insufficient.
Efforts to encourage adequate vitamin and micronutrient intake during pregnancy will be the subject of the campaign, which draws upon research commissioned by Bayer and undertaken by research agency Censuswide.
The research also found 75% of respondents were unaware that poor nutrition can have a negative impact on sperm quality.
Less than half (47%) knew the benefits of taking supplements beyond the first trimester but did not realise or did not know that supplements could provide support and complement diet before conception, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The online survey, which questioned 8500 respondents in the US, Australia, Russia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia and China, found 6500 respondents at the planning/ pregnant/ breastfeeding stage with 2000 respondents of reproductive age.
While the majority were aware they needed nutrients in their diet many didn’t know where to get them from (diet or supplements) or why they were needed.
34% of those surveyed believed that by eating enough fruit and vegetables, mothers-to-be could get the necessary nutrients to support the baby’s development.
64% of people said they were unaware that poor nutrition can impact female fertility against 70% of people who were unaware of the impact it could have on male fertility and 75% who didn’t know it would impact sperm quality.
An average of 46% respondents in Japan were most aware of the impact which nutrition could have on male fertility (39% were aware) whereas those in Egypt had the lowest understanding (21% were aware).
“The good news is that once parents and parents-to-be knew about the benefits of good nutrition in the first 1000 days, they wanted to know more and make changes to get the necessary nutrition,” Bayer says.
“Additionally, 51% said they would make changes to ensure they are increasing their nutritional intake.”