Writing the Introduction

Inadequate feeding of infant and young children in India: Lack of nutritional information or food affordability? Public Health Nutrition, 16(10), 1723-1731.

In India, an alarming 43 % of children less than 3 years of age are stunted, 48 % are underweight and 17 % are wasted, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS; 2005–2006)…

1. Grab their attention: Why is this topic/issues important? 

a) providing statistics on the high rates of child malnutrition in the country – it’s an epidemic.

In India, an alarming 43 % of children less than 3 years of age are stunted, 48 % are underweight and 17 % are wasted, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS; 2005–2006)(1). It is well known that poor anthropometric indices of children have serious consequences for their survival.

b) Associating it to other important issues –  providing long run links to other health issues.

Nutritional intake in the early years of life can also have long-term health consequences in adulthood. Lower nutritional intake is positively associated with an increased risk of CHD, lower intellectual and poor reproductive performance(26). Malnutrition in childhood can also have intergenerational impacts. A mother’s poor nutritional intake and growth during her infancy is associated with lower birth weight and lower risk of survival for her offspring(3, 710).

2. Discovered: What has already been done/discovered on the topic? 

A balanced diet rich in both macro- and micronutrients is fundamental to an infant’s growth and development(11). According to current WHO recommendations on infant and young child feeding (IYCF), an appropriate diet is breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, followed by adequate and nutritionally balanced solid food to complement breast milk(12). The introduction of solid or semi-solid food at around 6 months of age is crucial since breast milk alone would no longer be sufficient for maintaining a child’s optimal growth(1316). Generally, there is a clustering effect of nutritional deficiency, so that a few nutrients cannot be singled out, and a well-balanced diet is vital for children. Diversity in an infant’s diet has been linked to improved nutritional status and anthropometric measures in childhood(17, 18).

Food requirements vary across breastfeeding status. According to the guidelines(19), a child in the age range 6–23 months should be fed from four or more different food groups in addition to breast milk. Further, a child who does not receive any breast milk should be fed from four or more food groups and should also receive milk or milk products on a daily basis. In its indicators for assessing IYCF practices in population-based surveys, the WHO classifies seven food groups: (i) Milk and Milk Products; (ii) Eggs; (iii) Flesh Foods (Meat, Fish, etc.); (iv) Vitamin-A Rich Fruits and Vegetables; (v) Other Fruits and Vegetables; (vi) Grains; (vii) Nuts and Legumes. The Indian National Guidelines on IYCF (based on WHO’s guiding principles) also recommend that after the first 6 months of age children should no longer be exclusively breastfed, and should be given complementary solid and semi-solid food(20, 21).

Breastfeeding is nearly universal in India where 96 % of children younger than 5 years of age are breastfed; the mean duration of breastfeeding is 24·7 months(9). Nevertheless, there are prolonged delays in the introduction of complementary food, with only 55·8 % of children aged 6–9 months receiving such food. Further, it is during this time of delay that the incidence of childhood malnutrition rises in the population(9, 22, 23). This is also true of other developing countries; malnutrition rates rise during 6–8 months of age, coinciding with complementary feeding(24).

3. What is the question and its contribution to earlier work? 

How is your study different from earlier work. Why should it be published?

In this example, the authors emphasize that others have focused on wealth as the most important factor – whereas this study demonstrates that ‘information on nutrition‘ is more important than wealth. The authors comfort the reader by stressing that they controlled for other determinants…

Much of the research on this issue has emphasized poverty as a leading cause of malnutrition(2528). Income is a binding constraint to proper nutrition; however, income is only one of the many determinants of poor feeding practices. ..The present study uses data from the NFHS (2005–2006), which provides useful information on IYCF practices at the national level, to evaluate the extent to which various factors previously found to be important determinants of poor feeding practices apply to the case of India. The study highlights the role of nutrition information, in comparison to formal education and wealth, as an important determinant of infant diet. This work contributes by separating and quantifying the contribution of nutritional information and informal education to the prevalence of inadequate feeding practices.

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Example 3:

Malhotra, N., and Rus, H. A. “The Effectiveness of the Canadian Antidumping Regime”, Canadian Public Policy, 35(2), 2009.

There has been a fairly significant literature, both theoretical and empirical, devoted to the effectiveness and ramifications of AD investigations on trading patterns for an importing country. Among the most cited, one can count articles such as Prusa (1997, 2001), Staiger and Wolak (1994), and Anderson (1993). We follow the methodology set forth in Prusa (1997) and Vandenbussche, Konings, and Springael (2001) and look at the Canadian case. Prusa (1997) presents evidence on the effectiveness of AD actions in the US, while Vandenbussche et al. (2001) determine the effects of European AD measures on import flows so as to contrast their results with the ones drawn for US antidumping. Utilizing US data, Prusa (1997) concludes that: (a) AD duties substantially restrict the volume of trade from countries named in the petition, particularly for those cases where “high” duties were imposed, and (b) substantial trade diversion exists from named to non-named countries with the diversion being larger the greater the duty. Accordingly, for the US cases, it appears that AD laws have the peculiar side effect of benefiting countries and firms that were not named in the investigation, through substantial price and volume increases. In contrast, Vandenbussche et al. (2001) find that little or no trade diversion attributable to the AD regime is apparent in the European Union (EU) data. Their conjectures regarding this difference include: (a) differences in industry concentration levels, (b) the “prospective” nature of AD legislation, as well as differences in the calculation of penalties, and (c) lack of transparency, as well as the larger extent of uncertainty with respect to protection offered in Europe, which prevent non-named firms or countries from filling the “gap” created in the export market by the trade-restriction effects of AD.