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Translational and Implementation Research to Bridge Evidence and Implementation

The role of science in guiding interventions and programs and contributing to progress in achieving global targets is undeniable. In public health nutrition, biological research in the past century focused largely on single nutrients and provided the basis for addressing nutritional deficiencies. This focus has now expanded to consider evidence including, but not limited, to knowledge about food, diet, behavior, context, and culture. The complex double burden of malnutrition will need to be addressed through a wider lens that appreciates the multiple and interrelated facets that underpin it.

Summary: Despite the acknowledged importance of translational research in improving nutritional outcomes, significant gaps remain in the process leading from science to practice. This article sheds light on 2 examples that demonstrate this, namely, anemia and stunting. Further, much work is still required to translate the current evidence base into effective actions that result in impact at scale, pointing toward the need for more implementation research in nutrition.

Key Messages: While discoveries may take time to surface and implementers are impatient to address the challenge at hand, it is essential to identify and deploy the best available evidence while continuously advancing the evidence base, and to seek the right balance between action and inaction.

Kraemer K, van Zutphen K, G: Translational and Implementation Research to Bridge Evidence and Implementation. Ann Nutr Metab 2019;75:144-148. doi: 10.1159/000503675

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