How finding research gaps can help fight malnutrition

Friday, September 27, 2013

The case of nutrition in the development agenda is often complicated. It is often overshadowed when bundled with food security, and yet donors sometimes appear clueless on how to solve one without addressing the other, leaving many to question on whether donor money is really making a dent in the global fight against malnutrition.

So what can the aid community do?

Nutrition experts on Thursday converged in New York — where development takes center stage this week — to present some 20 priority areas for nutrition research in the first Global Research Agenda on Nutrition Services. These include:

  • Describing the interactions between the food system and nutrition.
  • Integrating individual and household-level factors underlying economic vulnerability and food insecurity.
  • Role of nutrition in developmental origins of health and disease.
  • The relationship between markers of nutrition and functional outcomes.
  • Knowledge related to inputs of nutrition intervention.

Mandana Arabi, director of The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences, told Devex these proposed research focus areas dubbed “research gaps” can help shape how different stakeholders — donors, NGOs, country governments, the private sector and even the academe — can fight malnutrition.

For instance, donors can make use of the research to learn how to best deliver a specific intervention. Companies meanwhile can develop products in response to how the body utilizes micronutrients.

“It’s hard to believe, but most nutrition programs are based on supposition rather than science,” New York Academy of Sciences spokesperson shared with Devex.

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
nutrition, public health, public-private partnerships