Overview: The Mumbai Maternal Nutrition Project, also known as Project “SARAS” (“excellent”) was a randomised controlled trial of a food-based supplement for women living in slums in the city of Mumbai. It was carried out in collaboration with Ramesh Potdar, Centre for the Study of Social Change, Mumbai. The children born to these women are also being followed up.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of a pre-conceptional food-based supplement on birthweight (SARAS), and the growth, body composition, cardiometabolic risk factors and cognitive function in the children at age 5-6 years (SARAS KIDS)

Methods: Supplementation was started pre-conceptionally and continued throughout pregnancy, and comprised a daily snack made from locally available micronutrient-rich foods: green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and milk powder. 6,513 women were recruited between January 2006 and February 2011. Data collection for birth outcomes was completed in May 2012. All the children born in the trial are being followed up annually to monitor survival and record detailed anthropometry (?SARAS KIDS?). From June 2013, body composition (DXA), cardiometabolic risk factors (glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and plasma lipids) and cognitive function (multiple domains, using a battery adapted for Indian children), are being measured as the children reach 5 years of age.

Research output and key findings in the last quinquennium: The manuscript describing the results for birth outcomes is under review and manuscripts for maternal outcomes, fetal growth, and infant mortality and growth are in preparation. Two other papers were published from the trial during the last quinquennium457,486

  • Women in the slums had low baseline intakes of green vegetables, fruit and milk486
  • The intervention increased birthweight by a mean of 48g and reduced low birthweight by 20%. There was an interaction with maternal pre-pregnant BMI, with intervention effects on birthweight of -8g, +79g, and +113g in the lowest, middle and highest thirds of BMI respectively (p for interaction=0.001) [manuscript under review]
  • The intervention halved the prevalence of maternal gestational diabetes (Treatment group: 7.1% vs Control group: 13.3%; p=0.004)