Realizing the potential of the school environment to close the micronutrient gap and address iron deficiency anemia in adolescents in low-and-middle-income countries

View the presentation slides here.

Adolescents are particularly susceptible to nutritional deficiencies, with iron deficiency anemia being one of the leading causes of disability affected life years (DALY) lost for girls and boys aged 10-14y and girls aged 15-19y due to the increased demand for iron during this critical window of growth and development. Therefore, implementing interventions to address micronutrient deficiencies, including iron, during adolescence can positively impact their future health outcomes. Despite efforts to increase iron intake, progress on global anemia reduction has been slow. Considering the lack of progress, we need alternative holistic approaches to fill the iron gap. 

School feeding programs are instrumental in improving the nutrition of school-aged children. By recognizing current micronutrient gaps in school meals, opportunities can be identified to address these gaps through the inclusion of fermented or fortified foods, supplementation, and dietary diversity. This session will present an inclusive business model that has successfully filled a nutrition gap in East African school-going adolescents through the provision of probiotic yogurt, while supporting local producers.   

School meals are an important source of nutrition for adolescents; however, it is important to recognize that school meals alone may not be enough to provide all the nutrients necessary for optimal health, especially iron. A nutritious meal, together with other context-specific holistic health and well-being interventions (e.g., WIFAS, WASH promotion, deworming, eye testing, oral health care, sexual and reproductive health education, and menstrual health management) helps to ensure that this target group can reach adequate overall nutrition. Leveraging the school environment as a whole to deliver an integrated designed package of interventions can address multiple health and nutrition challenges facing adolescents. 

Register or view the program of the 5th International Congress on Hidden Hunger: Improving Food and Nutrition Security through School Feeding

View the presentation slides here.


5th September 2023

11:00 am CET onwards


Room B2, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany


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