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Balanced Energy and Protein Dietary Supplementation Technical Advisory Group (BEP-TAG)

The Balanced Energy and Protein Dietary Supplementation Technical Advisory Group (BEP-TAG) is an interdisciplinary group of experts in nutrition, maternal health, and public health.  

Hosted by the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium (HMHB), the BEP-TAG aims to review and synthesize evidence, address knowledge gaps, drive innovative research on Balanced Energy and Protein Dietary Supplementation, and provide high-fidelity guidance to governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, multilateral organizations, and the private sector. 

The BEP-TAG’s mission is to generate evidence and guidance to champion the adoption of BEP Dietary Supplementation as an evidence-based intervention or standard of care in antenatal care programs to improve maternal nutrition and birth outcomes. 

History

The BEP-TAG was created to address malnutrition among pregnant women and its consequences for their babies. BEP Dietary Supplementation has shown promising potential to mitigate the risks of low birth weight, small for gestational age babies, and stillbirths.  

BEP intervention is delivered in many forms, such as food, fortified beverages, lipid-based biscuits, and powders. The lack of a universally accepted formulation for BEP Dietary Supplementation inspired the creation of a dedicated TAG. This collaborative effort seeks to synthesize scientific evidence to support the use of BEP Dietary Supplementation for undernourished pregnant women, recommended by antenatal care (ANC) healthcare professionals, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).  

Activities

The BEP-TAG works in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) BEP Expert group to review existing scientific evidence and drive consensus to address the following:   

  • Nutritional composition of BEP Dietary Supplementation (e.g., review or revise the expert consensus on BEP nutrient composition and product considerations).   
  • Targeted approaches for BEP Dietary Supplementation (e.g., layout pros and cons of individual vs. blanket or group targeting, combined with other supplements).  
  • Delivery models for BEP Dietary Supplementation (e.g., develop guidance on product storage, frontline workers, delivery cost, etc., to platforms providing routine antenatal care). It is important to ensure that the chosen delivery model is efficient, cost-effective, and aligned with the preferences and constraints of the target population. 
  • Other opportunities for BEP Dietary Supplementation to reduce the triple burden of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases.  

 

 

As a part of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium, the BEP-TAG’s activities will include: 

  • Reviewing and synthesizing scientific evidence on BEP Dietary Supplementation, including their effectiveness, safety, cost, and implementation strategies.  
  • Developing evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for using BEP Dietary Supplementation to address malnutrition.  
  • Identifying research gaps and priorities to guide future research and innovations in the field of BEP Dietary Supplementation. 
  • Collaborating with global partners, funders, stakeholders, and research institutions to promote knowledge exchange and capacity-building efforts.  
  • Advocating for the integration of BEP Dietary Supplementation within national nutrition policies and programs.    
  • Maintaining an online database that provides an overview of key randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and systematic reviews or individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis studies on antenatal BEP Dietary Supplementation, which have been completed, are ongoing or being planned as of March 2024. This online database will be regularly updated. To suggest adding new clinical RCTs or systematic reviews,  please contact [email protected], and include relevant maps and/or references with ongoing or recently completed trials, planned systematic reviews, and IPD meta-analyses.

 

Members

The list of members of the BEP-TAG will be posted here when the usual onboarding procedures are completed.  

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