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UNCE faculty member selected to work at national level

Posted 10/2/2012

Madeleine Sigman-Grant, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension maternal specialist and professor, recently accepted an offer to be a member of the Workshop Planning Committee (WPC) for the Dietary Guidelines 0-2 Federal Steering Committee.

Sigman-Grant was recommended after working with personnel at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion designing a food pyramid for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as a pyramid for preschoolers.

The WPC will consist of a work group exploring issues involved in establishing dietary guidelines for infants to age two. There has been considerable attention to this age group as no dietary guidelines for this age group have been written.

Sigman-Grant’s role will lay groundwork for determining the questions that need to be asked and what data needs to be found. The WPC will discuss their findings through conference calls and two face-to-face meetings in Washington, D.C.

Sigman-Grant, who has previously declined other invitations to work at the national level, said this was an offer she couldn’t refuse because attention to the issue for infants and children under two years old to be included in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is critical.

“It is important because there is a lot of confusion among health practitioners and parents about what we should be feeding infants and young children,” Sigman-Grant said. “There is a variety of information available, but some of it is inconsistent and becomes very confusing.

Sigman-Grant said the emphasis is to provide infants’ only breast milk until six months of age.

“As we learn more and more what components are in breast milk we recognize how it is totally different than any feed that can be manufactured,” Sigman-Grant said. “We’re seeing how there can be more support for breastfeeding moms. Once you start recommending breast milk exclusively for six months it changes all of the guidelines.”

Sigman-Grant is excited to be a part of the WPC as it is a culmination of all of the work she has done over the past 30 years in the area of maternal and child nutrition.

“I look forward to the interaction of bringing people together to discuss such an important issue,” Sigman-Grant said. “Being involved at the very start of something new and addressing clearly critical issues is exciting.”

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