Consumption patterns and nutrition

Nutrition security

GCP2 Women Food Entrepreneurs in Kenya and Burkina Faso
Image: via Flickr (by: Ruth_W)

Nutrition security goes beyond food security by considering the nutritional value of food and the systemic factors that determine an individual’s nutritional status. It is about a community’s access to essential nutrients, not just calories. Undernutrition, malnutrition and increasingly overnutrition are still pressing issue in many developing countries. Promoting nutrition security offers several opportunities to stimulate economic and pro-poor development in cost-efficient ways. Furthermore, by addressing food systems, production systems, the collecting, storage, transport, transformation and distribution of foods, diets and health can be improved while the impact on natural resources declined. This Knowledge Portal topic refers to publications that highlight efforts promoting nutrition security in developing countries and emerging economies.

The Food & Business Knowledge Platform is also actively involved in this theme. Please have a look at the theme page on nutrition security for the latest news, events, and our own publications.

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Nutrition-sensitive agriculture: What have we learned and where do we go from here?
Published by IFPRI,
This discussion paper reviews recent evidence that document linkages between agriculture, women’s empowerment, and nutrition. A growing number of governments, donor agencies, and development organizations are committed to supporting nutrition-sensitive agriculture to achieve their development goals. »
Global Nutrition Report 2017: Nourishing the SDGs
Published by Development Initiatives,
This report shows that ending malnutrition in all its forms will catalyze improved outcomes across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The analysis shows there are five core areas that run through the SDGs to which nutrition can contribute, and in turn, benefit from. »
Schools as a system to improve nutrition
Published by UNSCN,
This discussion paper shows that schools offer a unique opportunity to improve nutrition using a systemic, multi-sectoral approach. Social, health, economic and ethic arguments coalesce in and around schools. »
Triggering for positive behaviour change in nutrition
Published by SNV, CDI, KIT, SDC,
This technical brief provides an overview of community Social and Behavior Change Communication and triggering on positive nutrition and hygiene behaviors. The brief presents results from the Sustainable Nutrition for All (SN4A) model in Uganda and Zambia. »
Global nutrition report: Towards a global governance in nutrition
Published by Journal Development and Change,
This assessment critically looks at the Global Nutrition Reports. It suggests that the underlying purpose of these Reports is not so much to tackle the problem of nutrition as to generate and mainstream a certain discourse to facilitate global governance in nutrition with a view towards capital accumulation. »
Diversification for sustainable food systems
Published by ECDPM,
This edition of the Greats Insights magazine has a thematic focus on sustainable food systems. The articles seek to address the ‘People, Profit and Planet’ sustainability challenge in food systems, focusing on how greater sustainability and inclusiveness are achievable. »
Global fortification data exchange
Published by FFI, GAIN, IGN and Micronutrient Forum,
This analysis and visualization tool provides data on food fortification. The Global Fortification Data Exchange (GFDx) includes indicators on food fortification legislation from 1942 to the present as well as available standards, food availability, and intake for over 230 countries. »
Nutrition sensitive value chains: Theory, progress, and open questions
Published by Global Food Security Journal,
This article takes a consumer focus on the value chains to consider the types of interventions that could lead to improved intakes of micronutrient-rich foods. Additionally, it reviews the present literature on the types of value chain assessments, interventions, and initiatives that are attempting to improve nutrition as well as potential future directions. »
Not just food: For southern Africa to succeed, think nutrition
Published by Thomson Reuters Foundation News,
This blog discusses the importance of food systems and collaborative solutions for improving nutrition. There has been recognition by the Mozambican government that nutrition matters, but the challenge is primarily one of implementation. »
Implementation of the SDGs at the national level: How to advocate for nutrition-related targets and indicators
Published by SUN,
This toolkit tries to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to nutrition are well-integrated in national development plans, policies and strategies. For the next 15 years, each country will have to make sure that national development plans, as well as all new policies, are aligned with the SDGs. »
Climate change and variability: What are the risks for nutrition, diets, and food systems?
Published by IFPRI,
This discussion paper uses a food systems approach to analyze the bidirectional relationships between climate change and food and nutrition along the entire food value chain. The relationship between climate and nutrition is complex. »
Improving nutrition through enhanced food environments
Published by Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition,
This policy brief calls for a transformation of the food environment that promotes greater diversity, availability and safety of nutritious foods. The brief considers current evidence on what works, and provides recommendations for action that affect supply dynamics of the food system. »
Coverage and utilization in food fortification programs: critical and neglected areas of evaluation
Published by Journal of Nutrition,
This article highlight some of the strengths and areas for improvement of current population-based (i.e., staple foods and condiments) and targeted (e.g., foods for infants and young children) fortification programs. The results identify a few striking successful fortification programs whereby the majority of the food vehicle used is fortifiable and fortified, and coverage is equitable. »
Stories of change in nutrition
Published by Global Food Security,
This special issue analyzes drivers of change in six high-burden countries (Bangladesh, India, Ethiopia, Nepal, Senegal, and Zambia) which had some success in accelerating improvements in nutrition. »
Nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems in practice: Options for intervention
Published by FAO,
This publication provides a list of food system-based intervention options to improve nutrition and a set concrete entry points for maximizing the impact of each intervention. For each intervention, information is provided on: what the intervention includes; why it has the potential to improve nutrition and how it could be made more nutrition-sensitive. »
Agriculture, food systems, and nutrition: Meeting the challenge
Published by Global Challenges Journal,
This article reviews the role agriculture plays in improving nutrition, how food systems are changing rapidly due to globalization, trade liberalization, and urbanization, and the implications this has for nutrition globally. Malnutrition is a multisectoral, multi-level problem. »
Improving nutrition through biofortification: A review of evidence from HarvestPlus
Published by Global Food Security,
This review article summarizes key evidence from the HarvestPlus program on how biofortification has helped improve nutrition worldwide between 2003 and 2016. Delivery experiences in various target countries (Bangladesh, DR Congo, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia) are discusses, as well as farmer and consumer adoption. According to the authors, attention should now shift to an action-oriented agenda for scaling biofortification to improve nutrition globally. »
School meals a vital ingredient in ending hunger and promoting healthy diets
Published by FAO,
This article shows and reiterates the importance of school meals and highlights the Home-Grown School Feeding Resources Framework publication. This framework supports governments through the process of policy formulation, implementation and evaluation of school meals programs. It also brings together the technical expertise of different stakeholders in a programmatic and coherent way to be easily accessed by countries requesting technical assistance. »
Pastoral community platforms as channels for behavioural change for nutrition
Published by Transform Nutrition, Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Suisse ,
This publication explores the potential of pastoral-community platforms to channel maternal, infant and young-child nutrition messages to community members. A seven-month Behavioral Change for Improved Nutrition intervention assessed the ability of pastoral-community platforms to increase awareness on optimal practices to promote positive behavioural changes in the study communities. »
Delivery of iron-fortified yoghurt, through a dairy value chain program
Published by PLoS ONE,
This article discusses value chain approaches as innovative strategies to enhance the nutritional impact of agriculture. These approaches use supply chains to add value (usually economic) to products as they move from producers to consumers. However, they can also be used to increase access to nutritious foods and improve nutritional status. »
Guidelines on assessing biodiverse foods in dietary intake surveys
Published by FAO & Bioversity International,
This report provides new scientific guidelines for collecting information on food biodiversity through dietary surveys. The authors argue that information on food consumption goes hand in hand with information on food composition and both are essential building blocks for nutrition science. Rather than debate which element should come first in research, the authors argue that joint efforts are needed to gain a better understanding of consumption and composition of food biodiversity. »
Resilience and child malnutrition in Mali
Published by Food Security journal,
This article in the Food Security journal explores the link between resilience and child malnutrition in Africa. Using detailed survey data from Mali, this paper examines whether the resilience capacity of households is a determinant of child malnutrition. The empirical evidence presented here demonstrates that higher resilience capacity is associated with both lower probability of having malnourished children. »
Factors influencing nutritional adequacy among rural households in Nigeria: How does dietary diversity stand among influencers?
Published by Ecology of Food and Nutrition,
This artice examined the influence of food consumption diversity on adequate intakes of food calories, proteins and micronutrients among households in rural Nigeria within the framework of panel data econometrics using a nationally representative data. The authors found that substantial proportion of households suffered deficiency of calories, proteins and certain micronutrients. »
Fishing for proteins: How marine fisheries impact global food security up to 2050
Published by WWF,
This report by WWF Germany argues that sustainable managing of fishing is needed to answer to the increasing global demand for protein in the coming decades. If the situation doesn’t improve, millions of people may no longer be able to afford fish by 2050, particularly those in developing coastal countries. According to the projections made by this study, it will on the one hand be possible to fish approximately 112 million tons of fish around the world in 2050 if the current moderate level of fishery management effectiveness remains the same. »
Promoting regional trade in pulses in the Horn of Africa
Published by ECDPM, FAO,
This note by ECDPM in collaboration with FAO discusses the opportunities and challenges to develop regional pulses value chain in the region, drawing from literature review and interviews with key stakeholders. Pulses are crucial in nutritious diets. Despite opportunities, pulses production and yields in Africa and the Horn remain lagging behind potential. The challenges in designing a coherent package of policies and investments to boost intra-regional trade discussed in this note will also be useful for other value chains. »
Agronomic biofortification of crops to fight hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa
Published by Global Food Security journal,
This article in the Global Food Security journal discusses the effectiveness of agronomic biofortification - the application of mineral micronutrient fertilizers to soils or plant leaves to increase micronutrient contents in edible parts of crops – and it's potential to fight hidden hunger. There is evidence that agronomic biofortification can increase yields and the nutritional quality of staple crops, but there is a lack of direct evidence that this leads to improved human health. »
The Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security in Latin America and the Caribbean 2016
Published by FAO; PAHO,
This report provides an overview of food and nutrition security status in Latin America and the Caribbean. Obesity and overweight are on the rise throughout both regions, and are particularly prevalent among women and children. Around 58% of the inhabitants of the region are overweight and obesity affects 23% of the population. The main factors contributing to this rise are linked to changing dietary patterns. »
A new global research agenda for food
Published by Nature,
This opinion article argues that it is time for a new research agenda on food that shifts the focus from feeding people towards nourishing them. They argue that malnutrition is not a problem that can be overcome through growth or development since even as economies expand, the quality of diets does not improve. Therefore the authors set out a new global research agenda for nutrition focused on ten research priorities. »
Tales of the Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition (AIM)
Published by AIM,
On this webpage the Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition shares podcasts with its lessons learnt. AIM uses market-based solutions and develops new social business models to ensure projects are financially sustainable in the long-term. The goal of AIM is to create systemic change and address barriers to market entry for nutritious products. The four podcasts, AIM-tales, are part of the AIM Learning Agenda in which the organisations involved share experiences. »
Multi-level advocacy for nutrition
Published by IDS,
This report by IDS identifies opportunities and constraints as well as key factors either fostering Multi-level Advocacy (MLA) or explaining its absence, in situations of high levels of malnutrition. This report contributes to debates about how to build both momentum and action for nutrition through advocacy and other means and, more generally, to the literature on policy advocacy in developing countries. »
A landscape analysis of what we know about mobile nutrition, agriculture and development
Published by IDS,
This working paper provides insight in how mobile technology can support nutrition and agricultural interventions. While the interest is growing in the use of mobile phones for nutrition behavior change interventions in LMICs, hard evidence is very limited, methodologically weak and often based anecdotal findings. Therefore this study reviews a number of cases where mobile technology interventions were used and summarizes the lessons learned from this. »
Compendium of indicators for nutrition-sensitive agriculture
Published by FAO,
This compendium is designed to assist officers responsible for designing nutrition-sensitive food and agriculture investments in selecting appropriate indicators to monitor if these investments are having an impact on nutrition and through which pathways. The guide is for those responsible for the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of investment projects in food and agriculture (including and in addition to value chains, social development, and rural development) that need to demonstrate that they lead to intermediary results toward improved nutrition. »
Achieving a nutrition revolution for Africa: The road to healthier diets and optimal nutrition
Published by IFPRI,
This report by IFPRI dealt with opportunities for making Africa’s food system deliver healthier and more nutritious, making these foods more available and affordable to all people, and promoting better food consumption patterns as African economies develop. This is an important moment for shaping the region’s future and ensuring that the much-needed agriculture-led growth and development agenda can simultaneously deliver on improving nutrition, saving lives, improving productivity and health, and curbing nutrition-related diseases and the associated public health expenditures. »
Provitamin A carotenoid–biofortified maize consumption increases pupillary responsiveness
Published by The Jounral of Nutrition,
This article elaborates on the effects of pro-vitamin A maize on the visual functions in children in Zambia. With a randomized research trial the researchers found that children who ate "orange maize" showed improved night vision within six months. Their eyes adapted better in the dark, improving their ability to engage in optical day-to-day activities under dim light. Impairment of the eyes’ ability to adapt to low-light conditions is one of the few measurable signs of vitamin A deficiency at its initial stages. »
Nutrition indicators in agriculture projects: Current measurement, priorities, and gaps
Published by Global Food Security,
This article investigates explores suitable indicators for measuring nutrition-agriculture linkages. The evidence base for impact of agriculture on nutrition is bounded by what is measured. The authors argue that the understanding of true impact of agriculture on nutrition has been limited by the scope of available indicators. The paper reviews which nutrition impact indicators are currently used in agriculture-nutrition projects, and highlights priorities and gaps in measurement. »
Review of agri-food value chain interventions aimed at enhancing consumption of nutritious food by the poor
Published by LANSA,
Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) published a papersdesk review and analysis on India and Pakistan that serve as a guide to an understanding of the agri-food value chain landscape in these countries. The working papers will serve as a guide to understand how agriculture can play a more effective role in improving nutrition in countries with a high burden of hidden hunger and where an increasing proportion of the poor sources its food from the market. »
Non-farm work, food poverty, and nutrient availability in northern Ghana
Published by Journal of Rural Studies,
This article analyzes the nexus between different types of non-farm work (own business, wage employment, and their combination) and household food nutrient availability in northern Ghana. Despite the significant economic development in Ghana, northern Ghana has made little progress. Nationally, households engaged in the non-farm work are less likely to be categorized as poor, relative to those engaged in farming only. »
How can we use markets to reach the poor with nutritious foods?
Published by IDS,
This report shows findings from Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania on how and where value chains and markets might be made more nutrition sensitive and improve access to nutritious foods for the poorest and most vulnerable communities show that markets face many challenges in bringing nutritious foods to the poorest and most vulnerable. To effectively reach poor people, nutritious food must be affordable, available in the market, safe, and must contain the nutrients which it claims to have. Ensuring that nutritious food can reach the most vulnerable cannot be addressed by an individual business or value chain, but rather must be addressed through influencing the market system more broadly. »
Nutrition funding: The missing piece of the puzzle
Published by Generation Nutrition ,
This briefing paper highlights the fact that while governments in recent years have begun to take seriously the issue of undernutrition and have made a series of commitments at the global as well as the national level in this area, levels of aid and domestic financing of nutrition interventions still lag behind this political ambition. In this briefing paper, Generation Nutrition shows how global progress towards the World Health Assembly targets on stunting and acute malnutrition in under-fives needs to be accelerated. It also examines the current funding gaps for nutrition and proposes remedies – both at the international and country level. »
Global school feeding sourcebook: Lessons from 14 countries
Published by Partnership for Child Development, the World Food Programme, the World Bank and the African Union,
This book documents government-led school feeding programmes in low and middle income countries. It includes chapters about national programmes in 14 countries from sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. The sourcebook highlights the trade-offs associated with alternative school feeding models and analyses the overarching themes, trends and challenges which run across these programmes. »
Nourishing millions: Stories of change in nutrition
Published by IFPRI,
This book gives a proper overview of the development of nutritional thinking and the factors that have contributed to success in the last fifty years. The stories gathered in the book examine interventions that address nutrition directly—such as community nutrition programming and feeding programs for infants and young children—as well as nutrition-sensitive policies related to agriculture, social protection, and clean water and sanitation. »
Millets value chain for nutritional security: A replicable success model from India
Published by CABI,
This book explores how the millet value chain can improve nutritional security. It demonstrates a successful and sustainable model for value addition to millets from production to consumption. The authors outline practical interventions to revive the demand for millets as a convenient and nutritive option for consumers, whilst presenting a reliable model that can be adapted for the development of other commodities. »
The global nutrition report: From promise to impact
Published by IFPRI,
This report is the only independent and comprehensive annual review of the state of the world's nutrition. This year's edition has a strong focus on political commitment to nutrition and provides guidelines for what is necessary to end malnutrition by 2030. Findings reveal a global lack of progress against malnutrition – which now afflicts one in three people worldwide. Beyond health burdens, the report offers new data on the cost of malnutrition to societies and individuals. »
Leveraging agriculture for nutrition in South Asia and East Africa: Examining the enabling environment through stakeholder perceptions
Published by Food Security,
This article investigates the link between agriculture and nutrition in South Asia and East Africa and how better enabling environments can be created. South Asia and East Africa have the highest concentration of undernutrition and the majority of the nutritionally vulnerable populations here is dependent upon agriculture as a primary source of livelihood. The agriculture sector and agri-food system are considered to be central to sustained progress in reducing undernutrition. »
Nutrition-sensitive agriculture
Published by Rural21,
This issue of Rural21 shows how closely agriculture, nutrition and health are linked and takes a look at the various entry-points for improving nutrition through agriculture: from the choice of adequate seed systems and breeding programmes through agricultural policy interventions to promoting market access, production diversification and better functioning value chains to capacity building, nutrition education and gender equality. The issue also contains an article on the SUN movement and the importance of pulses. »
Sustaining healthy diets: The role of capture fisheries and aquaculture for improving nutrition in the post-2015 era
Published by WorldFish,
This report reviews current fish production and consumption from capture fisheries and aquaculture, highlights opportunities for enhancing healthy diets and outlines key multi-sectoral policy solutions. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda makes achieving food security and ending malnutrition a global priority. Within this framework, the importance of fisheries in local and global food systems and its contribution to nutrition and health, particularly for the poor are overlooked and undervalued , according to the authors. »
What works for nutrition? Stories of success from Vietnam, Uganda, and Kenya
Published by RESULTS UK, Concern Worldwide, University of Westminster,
This report discusses the drivers of progress in tackling multiple forms of malnutrition in three countries: Vietnam, Uganda, and Kenya. The report identifies some of the challenges and success factors to sustaining progress. It highlights the importance of well defined national policies and strategies for nutrition; the importance of strengthening capacity within governance structures; and to commit to global platforms (like the SUN movement or the Zero Hunger Challenge). »
Peoples’ nutrition is not a business
Published by Right to Food Watch,
This report poses the question: Is nutrition becoming a part of business rather than a human right? The publication presents different reviews from communities around the world and focuses on the socio-economic and cultural context in which human beings nutritional status is determined. It critically assesses the corporate influence on nutrition status and the right to food. »
Nutrition and social protection: The many dimensions of nutrition
Published by FAO,
This document analyses linkages and complementarities between social protection and nutrition, laying out the common ground between the two. It identifies general principles which should guide the design and implementation of social protection interventions in order to maximize their positive impact on nutrition. Common social protection instruments are analysed for their specific linkages with nutrition and concrete suggestions are made on how to best use them in order to achieve improved nutrition. »
Agriculture, nutrition, and the Green Revolution in Bangladesh
Published by IFPRI,
This paper analyzes agriculture and nutrition linkages in Bangladesh, a country that achieved rapid growth in rice productivity at a relatively late stage in Asia’s Green Revolution, as well as unheralded progress against undernutrition. The authors further show that rice yields have large and positive effects on the timely introduction of complementary foods for young children but not on dietary diversity indicators and that this complementary feeding indicator is positively associated with child weight gain but not with linear growth. »
Nutrition and the post-2015 development agenda: Seizing the opportunity
Published by United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition,
This annual publication brings together several papers and opinion articles on nutrition and shows the way in which the SDGs could elevate and focus attention on the urgency of eliminating malnutrition. Many of the contributors in this issue make the case that nutrition is a foundational investment that will underpin progress towards many of the other SDGs. »
Value chains and nutrition: A framework to support the identification, design, and evaluation of interventions
Published by IFPRI,
This paper elaborates on how value chains can contribute to improved nutrition outcomes. Value chain approaches can provide useful frameworks to examine the food system and have the potential to achieve improved nutritional outcomes by leveraging market-based systems. However, understanding the links between value chains, the overall business environment in which they operate, and nutrition among targeted populations is complex. »
Global Hunger Index 2014: The challenges of hidden hunger
Published by IFPRI, World Hunger Hilfe, Concern Worldwide,
This report offers a multifaceted overview of global hunger that brings new insights to the global debate on where to focus efforts in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. The report highlights the challenges related to hidden hunger, which is often ignored or overshadowed by hunger related to energy deficits. Hidden hunger, or micronutrient deficiency, affects some 2 billion people around the world. »
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