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Open Access Food-based strategies: Can they play a role in international development?

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Over the past two decades, the definition of poverty has been broadened to include social, economic, environmental, and human development dimensions. In line with this shift of thinking, all countries committed at the 2000 G-8 Summit in Okinawa to achieve the International Development Goals to alleviate poverty by 2015. Development organizations, such as the international development banks, have committed to provide support to countries to reach the International Development Goals, including two goals that specify significant reductions of child and maternal mortality. There is significant evidence that malnutrition, particularly micronutrient malnutrition, contributes to child mortality and growing evidence that malnutrition plays a similar role in maternal mortality. Inadequate dietary intake is an immediate cause of malnutrition, and thus it seems logical that food and agriculture activities could contribute to improvements in nutrition and micronutrient status. Global availability of cereals is adequate, but the rate of undernourishment (inadequate caloric intake) is still high, and child undernutrition still persists in many countries, suggesting that distribution of food is poor. Global availability of noncereal foods, such as animal and horticulture foods, is well below global requirements. Consequently, micronutrient deficiencies, which result mainly from inadequate intake of micronutrient-rich foods, particularly animal foods, are prevalent in most developing countries. Food-based strategies, such as home gardening, small-animal husbandry, poultry, and social marketing, lead to better food production, food consumption, and overall food security. Examining the relative contribution of the determinants of food security—availability, accessibility and consumption/choice—in a given setting provides insight into how the nutrition benefits from food-based strategies, as well as from macro food policies, might be maximized. When implemented in this context, food-based strategies can help countries achieve several of the International Development Goals.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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