[PHNUTR-L] Tufts: Sound nutrition for children is an unmet human
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Fri Feb 10 07:33:01 PST 2006
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Public release date: 9-Feb-2006
Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
Sound nutrition for children is an unmet human right
Experts gathered at the 2005 World Food Prize International Symposium to
address the dual global challenges of malnutrition and obesity. The
event marked the first time that this symposium focused on nutrition,
rather than agriculture or food systems. Patrick Webb, academic dean of
the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University,
who organized the scientific symposium, spoke on "Child Malnutrition:
Trends, Successes and Challenges" on behalf of the United Nations System
Standing Committee on Nutrition.
Webb states that nutrition must be seen as a key fundamental in the
development debate, rather than an outcome measure of economic or
agricultural growth. Nutrition underpins the success or failure in
meeting all of the Millennium Development Goals, he notes.
The three largest nutrition crises in the world today are in West
Africa, Niger and Ethiopia and, contrary to popular perception, they are
not the result of conflict or natural disaster, he reports. Webb
contends that all must be addressed in the development process, as must
the growing nutrition problem in Malawi. "Roughly 78% of the children
who are wasted, severely wasted, in the world are found in three
countries: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. …not conflict zones, not
famine zones. This reflects a failure of development policy. … We have
to challenge the invisibility of malnutrition," Webb continues. "Terms
like 'forgotten emergencies' and 'hidden hunger' speak volumes about the
invisibility of the problem."
Webb paints a picture of nutrition concerns around the world by stating
that undernutrition is associated with roughly half of premature child
deaths. "It's crucially important to understand that nutrition and the
treatment of malnutrition is in itself one of the key elements of
"We are making progress, but there are still major problems," Webb says.
In order to succeed in fighting malnutrition, Webb believes that
intervention programs need to target processes instead of problems and
must be included in the development debate. "Programs must address all
aspects of malnutrition including wasting, stunting, micronutrients, and
obesity. Furthermore, industry should protect investments against
shocks, and countries must legislate empowerment."
Public health nutrition professionals have faced many persistent
challenges when addressing malnutrition. These problems include creating
interventions to reach mothers during early pregnancy and children under
the age of two, promoting exclusive breastfeeding as a means of
improving nutrition, addressing the problem of iron deficiency anemia,
preventing obesity, and resolving malnutrition in the countries most at
need where capacity is weakest and funding is negligible.
"We need to ensure that actions are mutually reinforced. It's not just
reducing poverty; it's not just growing more food. Tackling underweight
among children requires policies, programs and actions to do precisely
that. We need appropriate action in all areas."
"Good nutrition, sound nutrition – it's not just a good idea, it's a
right," challenges Webb, the former chief of nutrition for the UN World
Food Programme. "It's a human right. And it's as yet an unmet right."
Webb, Patrick. 2005 World Food Prize International Symposium: The Dual
Challenges of Malnutrition and Obesity. October 13-14, 2005. "Session I:
International Perspectives – UN Standing Committee on Nutrition."
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD < fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com >
"Ask the Parkinson Dietitian" http://www.parkinson.org/
"Eat well, stay well with Parkinson's disease"
"Parkinson's disease: Guidelines for Medical Nutrition Therapy"
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