Animal sourced foods: Evidence on stunting and programme to increase consumption
This article (PDF) by the Institute of Development Studies (ISD) examines the role of animal sourced foods (ASF) in stunting prevention and the effectiveness of programmes aiming to increase ASF consumption. ASF are an important source of nutrients, particularly of iron and zinc, which could prevent stunting. A study across 46 countries find different patterns of consumption between regions and countries. While dairy is the most promiment ASF consumed in North Africa and Asia, fish consumption is highest in Western and Central Africa. Data show that children who did not consume ASF in the last 24 hours had significantly higher stunting rates. Data from South Asia derives a 3.3 percentage point decrease in stunting rate with consumption of 1 ASF in a day, and a 7.1 percentage point decrease with consumption of 2 ASF in a day. The main factors affecting ASF consumption discussed in literature were nutritional knowledge, price, and livestock production. Costs showed to be the biggest barrier. Many communities do have nutritinal knowledge, so it is wise to first assess this before devising education programmes. Livestock production tends to be positively associated with increased ASF consumption. Increased risk of diseases passed on by animals should be considered. Information may also need to be given so that breast-feeding is not replaced by milk consumption in households that own cows.