La transmisión de la salud de madre a hija

ISLAMABAD – El mes pasado, el Green Templeton College de la Universidad de Oxford celebró la edición anual del Simposio sobre Mercados Emergentes en Egrove Park. Esta vez, el tema fue “Salud y nutrición materna e infantil”. La última diapositiva de la presentación de apertura, ofrecida por Stephen Kennedy, del GTC, era una caricatura en la que aparecían dos jóvenes competidores en la línea de largada de una carrera: uno de ellos era fuerte y sano, el otro estaba demacrado y engrilletado, cargaba un bártulo lleno de enfermedades y tenía por delante la inmensa barrera de la malnutrición. El mensaje era claro: al nacer, las probabilidades de triunfar en la vida no son iguales para todos.

Esto, por supuesto, no es ninguna novedad. Ya está bien documentado el impacto que factores como la pobreza, la alfabetización materna, el acceso a sistemas de saneamiento y las condiciones habitacionales tienen sobre la salud de los niños (y luego sobre las sociedades y las economías). El problema es que estos factores no son tratables mediante intervenciones sanitarias aisladas. Sin embargo, hay otro determinante social del que no se habla tanto y sobre el que es posible hacer algo: la nutrición materna.

La discusión respecto de la influencia relativa de “naturaleza” y “crianza” en el desarrollo de las personas viene de lejos, desde los tiempos de Hipócrates. De hecho, ya las civilizaciones antiguas consideraban que una adecuada nutrición materna era esencial para garantizar la supervivencia y la prosperidad de las generaciones futuras. Pero las mejores intenciones no bastan cuando se enfrentan a la pobreza y la ignorancia.

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