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The third edition of Nutrition and Health in Developing Countries takes on a new context whereby the word ‘developing’ is now a verb and not an adjective.

This 827-page book with 36 chapters provides policy makers, nutritionists, students, scientists, and professionals with the most up-to-date knowledge regarding key nutritional and health problems in developing countries. Unlike its two previous editions, this third edition was written against the backdrop of the Sustainable Development Goals and therefore includes new chapters with various topics which well reflect the interconnectedness and complexity of our world. This requires a new approach to public health which includes, but is not limited to: food value chains, challenges to achieving sustainable food systems, urbanization, food insecurity, climate change and political instability.

This third edition reviews the epidemiology, outcome indicators, policies and programs that are used to determine improvements in nutrition and health that lead to development. Programs and policies that address the social and economic determinants of nutrition and health are increasingly gaining in importance as methods to improve the status of the most vulnerable people in the world. This volume is a great resource that policy-makers, nutritionists, students, scientists, and professionals can use to advance methods for improving the health of the world’s population and the development of nations, and to equip themselves to approach health and nutritional problems in a holistic and integrative way.

Sight and Life authored the chapter on ‘The Role of Foundations and Initiatives by the Private Sector for Improving Health and Nutrition’ (pp.771–790).

You can order your own copy of the book, or specific chapters from it, here

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Maternal undernutrition continues to threaten maternal and child health – particularly in low income and food insecure environments. Despite recent progress, over 30 million babies are still born too small— putting them at an increased risk of infant mortality, childhood stunting and poor cognitive function later in life. Approximately six million of these births are associated with maternal short stature in pregnancy. Low maternal BMI and poor weight gain during pregnancy are other factors that lead to fetal growth restriction. While the importance of the first 1,000 days is widely known, there has been little attention given to a woman’s nutritional status during and following pregnancy. To address this, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation convened a group of experts to explore how to best meet the nutritional requirements of vulnerable women during pregnancy and lactation.
 
The consultation set out to capture considerations and consensus for ready-to-use food supplements for pregnant and lactating women who are undernourished and/or at risk of undernutrition in low and middle-income countries. In their report, the expert group assess the daily minimum and maximum macro- and micronutrient consumption amounts for this target demographic—drawing upon recommendations from the US Institute of Medicine, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization (WHO). The group considered the types of foods that can best deliver these nutrients, and consideration of different formats including spreads, biscuits, bars, extruded snacks and instant drink powders. Lastly, they assessed the roles that the public and private sectors could play to create access to and demand for nutritional food supplements during and after pregnancy. The group concluded that both sectors will have an important role to play in moving these products from concept to market, and ultimately getting them to the women who need them most.
 
Dr. Klaus Kraemer, Sight and Life’s Managing Director, was part of the expert panel to advance these pressing topics surrounding women’s nutrition. 
 
“This important and timely document provides a blueprint to develop nutritious foods for women of reproductive age in countries with the highest nutritional needs.” – Dr Klaus Kraemer
 
The new WHO antenatal care guidelines —released shortly after the consultation—filled a gap in guidance for supplementation during pregnancy. The new guidelines include a context-specific recommendation for balanced-energy protein supplementation for pregnant women in undernourished populations. This offers an exciting opportunity to develop an affordable, nutritious food supplement for pregnant women that could also be considered for use by postpartum women to support lactation.
 
Now we must put the consultation’s recommendations into action. The group has outlined a series of next steps, including the development and testing of prototypes in different geographies and contexts. The potential for delivering a nutritious food supplement to undernourished populations is significant, and can help drive progress towards achieving the World Health Assembly’s global nutrition targets on anemia and low birth weight. 

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The new book Good Nutrition: Perspectives of rate 21st Century is well respected by leading experts on global nutrition. 

“This insightful and timely book rightly argues that addressing malnutrition is crucial to achieving sustainable development.”
 – Kofi Annan, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and Former Secretary-General of the United Nations

“Nutrition is a complex subject, affected by many intertwining factors. Good Nutrition: Perspectives for the 21st Century pulls it all together in one easy-to-follow volume.”
 – Anna Lartey, President of the International union of Nutritional Science and Director of Nutrition at the United Nations Food and agriculture Organization (FAO)

“Good Nutrition: Perspectives for the 21st century showcases the thinking of some of today’s most influential and respected scientists from a wide range of fields. With clear presentation and accessible argumentation, it offers a composite view of where global nutrition stands today and outlines a wide range of evidence-based approaches for bringing about positive change. The fact that its scope covers the developed as well as the developing world makes it all the more powerful, for there are no countries in the world today, however affluent they might be, that are not faced with significant malnutrition challenges. I am confident that scientists and policy-makers working in nutrition, food, agriculture and public health, as well as non-specialists, will find this publication informative, useful, and thought provoking, and that it will inspire everyone who reads it to help build a world in which nutrition is indeed recognized as a fundamental human right.”
– Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Click HERE to download the book. 

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Today, some 160 million children under five years of age don’t get the food and nutrients that their bodies need for optimal growth and development. One hundred and sixty million children that are likely to remain trapped in a vicious cycle of malnutrition and poverty. No wonder the ‘new’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have ‘no poverty’ and ‘zero hunger’ as the first and second of the 17 Global Goals. This makes the eradication of malnutrition, with a special focus on children, a top priority for countries as they turn the SDGs into actions.

Over the last four decades, much of the focus in addressing chronic malnutrition was on ensuring that children received sufficient micronutrients – particularly vitamin A, iodine, iron, zinc, and folate. There was the widespread assumption that they were receiving enough protein from their basic diet. So micronutrient malnutrition also known as ‘hidden hunger‘, because vitamin and mineral deficiencies are not often obvious to the eye, has dominated efforts and innovations to improve the nutrition of children under five.

Potentially important insights going forward have come to light in a paper just published in EBioMedicine. This new research, carried out by scientists at the Johns Hopkins University, the National Institute on Aging, University of Maryland, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Malawi, and the Sight and Life Foundation, analyzed blood samples of over 300 children with and without stunting. The children, aged between one and five years, lived in villages in rural Malawi. Instead of focusing on micronutrients, the research looked at the essential amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins, and must come from the diet.

The striking finding of the study is that all nine essential amino acids were significantly lower in stunted children compared with non-stunted children. In fact, most of the amino acid levels were as much as 15-20% lower in the stunted children. This is important because it tells us that stunted children are in reality not receiving sufficient quality protein from their diet and this lack of essential amino acids means children will not grow normally even if they receive the necessary micronutrients.

How did protein fall off the international development map?

Click here to read the full story in the Huffington Post by Dr Klaus Kraemer together with Dr Richard Semba, JHU.

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Is there a protein crisis?

It used to be common knowledge: Malnourished kids need more protein to thrive. Then came a scathing paper in the Lancet in 1974 called “The Great Protein Fiasco.” Filled with sarcasm, it argued that the nutrition community’s fixation on protein was a waste of time and money.

Click here to read whether now protein should be part of the bigger picture again.

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stuntingWorldwide, one-quarter of children under five years are short for their age (stunted), indicative of chronic malnutrition. Lipid-based nutrient supplements containing micronutrients have little to no effect in reducing child stunting. We examined the relationship between circulating metabolites with stunting in young children in Africa. Stunted children had lower serum levels of all nine essential amino acids compared with non-stunted children. These results challenge the widespread assumption that protein intake is adequate among young children in developing countries. The findings support the idea that children at high risk of stunting are not receiving adequate dietary intake of essential amino acids.

Click here to read full article.

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