42 Policies and Actions to Orient Food Systems towards Healthier Diets for All

Centre for Food Policy at City University of London, December 2020
Reports and Tools
Many policies and actions have the potential to increase the availability, affordability, and acceptability of high-quality, safe, nutritious foods as well as a shift away from nutrient-poor foods. Authors call for assessing synergies and trade-offs between these actions and environmental sustainability and livelihoods.

2019 Annual Trends and Outlook Report: Gender Equality in Rural Africa: From Commitments to Outcomes

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), December 2019
  • Nutrition in Humanitarian Contexts
  • Knowledge Management
Reports and Tools
The authors use evidence reviews and case studies to demonstrate that increasing female leadership, minimizing women’s institutional barriers, and promoting women’s control of productive assets would produce significant societal gains and reduce the negative impact of gender gaps on African households. The report examines gender in relation to agricultural productivity, shocks and resilience, assets, and trade.

2019 Short Rains in East Africa Among the Wettest on Historical Record

Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), January 2020
  • Nutrition in Humanitarian Contexts
Reports and Tools
FEWS NET experts released a special report to document the wettest rainfall season in 40 years in East Africa, from October-December of 2019. The impacts of this monumental rain season on food security are profound and have left 18-22 million people facing crisis outcomes in the region (Integrated Phase Classification 3 or higher). Climate shocks have led to challenges to resilience. Flooding has displaced hundreds of thousands in the region. Soil saturation, among other factors, have led to the worst outbreak of locusts in 75 years in Kenya and the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia and Somalia. Contrarily, increases in ground vegetation have provided relative improvement in herd growth and milk productivity in livestock.

2020 Global Nutrition Report

Global Nutrition Report, May 2020
  • Food Systems
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Reports and Tools
With a focus on promoting equality in food and health systems, this year’s report calls on governments, businesses, and civil society to act now to mainstream nutrition into food and health systems. It examines the causes of nutrition inequalities, identifying insufficient deployment of resources; inadequate implementation of policies, programs, and interventions; and lack of coordination across sectors. The authors suggest that improving data and using multi-sectoral efforts are important actions. The report also includes a forward dedicated to the impact of COVID-19 on nutrition programming.

2020 Hunger Report: Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow

Bread for the World, May 2020
  • Food Systems
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Reports and Tools
Given a confluence of events—from COVID-19 to the Nutrition Growth Summit—2020 is an ideal time for the international community to make progress toward better nutrition. To mobilize support, the report outlines actions that policymakers and partners can take to reduce the burdens of malnutrition. This includes 10 cross-cutting actions and sector-specific recommendations related to four topic areas: food value chains; health and education; food security and agriculture policies; and inclusive, equitable, and sustainable food systems.

2020 Severe Malnutrition Non-Technical Learning Series

1,000 Days, April 2020
  • Knowledge Management
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Events
In this monthly online learning series from 1,000 Days, subject-matter experts present the latest evidence on severe acute malnutrition. The series is designed to help non-technical audiences inform severe malnutrition policies and advocacy campaigns. Session topics include wasting, breastfeeding, and vitamin A supplementation, among others.

A Cluster-Randomized Trial to Test Sharing Histories as a Training Method for Community Health Workers in Peru

Altobelli, Laura C., José Cabrejos-Pita, Mary Penny, et al. Global Health: Science and Practice, December 2020
Research Articles
The Sharing Histories training method, whereby community health workers (CHWs) recount their own childbearing and childrearing experiences, improved CHW effectiveness with literate mothers in reducing stunting. Stunting among children of illiterate mothers may have involved unaddressed determinants of stunting. The abstract is available in Spanish.

A Model for Improved Estimates of Child Wasting in Yemen: Capturing the Effects of Conflict and Seasonal Variability in Incidence Estimates

Hussein, Rana, Mark Suprenant, Najwa Al-Dheeb, et al. UNICEF and Boston University [Preprint], November 2020
Research Articles
Estimating expected caseload using a single standard estimate fails to capture variations due to seasonality, disease trends, food insecurity levels, and the instability of a crisis setting. Context-specific modeling indicates that previous calculations significantly underestimate the burden of wasting.

A Virtual Training of Trainers: Adaptations from COVID-19

The Society for Implementation Science in Nutrition, October 2020
Events
Rise Against Hunger staff discuss shifting to a virtual training-of-trainers model in South Sudan due to COVID-19. This is a webinar.

Adapting NTEAM’s Technical Assistance for Nutrition Project in Bangladesh to Support the National Response to the Nutrition Challenges Posed by COVID-19

Nutrition International, November 2020
Events
Nutrition International staff describe efforts to support the Government of Bangladesh in its COVID-19 response planning and implementation and discuss revising guidelines for food basket provision and forecasting the impacts of COVID-19 on malnutrition in detail. The director general of the Bangladesh National Nutrition Council discusses nine prioritized mitigation measures. This is a webinar.

Adapting Social and Behavior Change Materials in the Time of COVID-19

Food for the Hungry, 2020
  • Social and Behavior Change
Reports and Tools
According to the author of this brief, during a pandemic such as COVID-19, it is important to shift our thinking about research, material design, and behavior-change communications from a longer process to one that focuses on the most important issues and immediate next steps. This publication provides five tips for quickly and effectively adapting social and behavior change materials that are key in the fight against COVID-19. This guidance is intended to help social and behavior change practitioners understand how to frame the behaviors they want to promote immediately.

Addressing Barriers to Exclusive Breastfeeding in Nampula, Mozambique: Opportunities to Strengthen Counseling and Use of Job Aids

USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program, June 2019
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Reports and Tools
In Nampula, Mozambique, exclusive breastfeeding practices are suboptimal. To reduce breastfeeding challenges in Nampula, the USAID Maternal and Child Health Survival Program conducted a study on the minimum breastfeeding competencies and practical skills needed by Nampula facility- and community-based providers.

Adolescent Nutrition Mapping Study: A Global Stakeholder Survey of Policies, Research, Interventions and Data Gaps

Emergency Nutrition Network, December 2020
Reports and Tools
Gaps include an agreed-upon definition of adolescence, standardized anthropometric definitions of malnutrition, data on current and optimal diets, evidence on effective interventions for adolescents, adolescent engagement in research, inclusion of adolescents within health and nutrition policies, and designated research funding.

Advocacy Toolkit – Nurturing Care

World Health Organization, UNICEF, and World Bank, October 2020
  • Early Childhood Development
Reports and Tools
The toolkit provides materials for those seeking to advocate for increased attention to and investment in early childhood development include country profiles, case studies, examples of advocacy best practices, key messages, quotes that capture the critical elements of nurturing care, a detailed explanation of nurturing care, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Affordability of the EAT-Lancet Reference Diet: A Global Analysis

Hirvonen, Kalle, Yan Bai, Derek Headey, et al. The Lancet. November 7, 2019
  • Food Systems
Research Articles
The EAT-Lancet Commission created a global benchmark diet capable of both sustaining health and protecting the environment, but did not examine the diet’s affordability. This analysis strives to understand the diet’s cost around the world by comparing food price and household income data from 159 countries. Findings show that for 1.58 billion people worldwide, the benchmark diet is too expensive for daily incomes to support.

All Children Surviving and Thriving: Re-envisioning UNICEF’s Conceptual Framework of Malnutrition

Black, Maureen M., Chessa K. Lutter, Angela C. B. Trude. The Lancet Global Health, Vol. 8, Issue 6, June 2020
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Nutrition in Humanitarian Contexts
Research Articles
The authors of this commentary propose a revision to UNICEF’s malnutrition conceptual framework, adding responsive care, learning opportunities, and safety and security components to health and nutrition. They suggest that by combining these elements, the revised framework will better promote children’s growth, nutritional status, and neurodevelopment, helping children to thrive, not just survive.

An Approach to Building Equitable Global Health Research Collaborations

Murray, Megan, Joel Mubiligi. Annals of Global Health, October 2020
  • Capacity Strengthening
Reports and Tools
The authors present a model for developing productive, equitable research partnerships between researchers and practitioners from high- and low-income countries. Model elements include mission and goal alignment, meaningful training and mentoring, capacity building, and co-authorship principles.

The Asia Food Challenge: Harvesting the Future

PWC, Rabobank, and Temasek, November 2019
  • Food Systems
  • Knowledge Management
Reports and Tools
The authoring organizations of this report foresee significant changes to Asia’s food and agricultural landscapes, with food spending expected to increase by around 7 percent per year over the next decade. As a collective call to action, the report outlines various opportunities for investment and innovation in key cities around Asia deemed “Agri-Food Tech Investment and Innovation Hubs.”

Assessing Dietary Diversity in Pregnant Women: Relative Validity of the List-Based and Open Recall Methods

Nguyen, Phuong Hong, Yves Martin-Prevel, Mourad Moursi, et al. Current Developments in Nutrition Vol. 4, January 2020
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
Research Articles
Few studies have compared list-based and open recall methods for collecting data on micronutrient adequacy from pregnant women. This study aims to fill that information gap and provides evidence for the recommended use of list-based questionnaires when assessing food group diversity or minimum dietary diversity for pregnant women. Conducted in both Bangladesh and India, the study also found that, in resource-poor settings, it may be more feasible to use the list-based tool than other methods for data collection.

Association between Malaria Infection and Early Childhood Development Mediated by Anemia in Rural Kenya

Milner, Erin M., Patricia Kariger, Amy J. Pickering, et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 17, February 2020
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Research Articles
Malaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children under 5 years and anemia is a well known morbidity resulting from malaria infection. This study in western Kenya found malaria infection significantly increased odds of risk for delays in gross motor, communication, and social-emotional development. Anemia was a significant mediator on the path between malaria infection and poor child development; however, the total effect of anemia was small (it explained only 9-16 percent of the risk), indicating the need for more research to understand the pathways between milder malaria infection and child development outcomes.

Associations Among Early Stimulation, Stunting, and Child Development in Four Countries in the East Asia–Pacific

Rao, Nirmala, Ben Richards, Carrie Lau, et al. International Journal of Early Childhood, August 2020
  • Early Childhood Development
Research Articles
Research in four countries found positive correlations between child development and preschool attendance, preschool duration, and home learning activities among non-stunted and stunted children. This article is behind a paywall.

Baby Friendly Spaces: An Intervention for Pregnant and Lactating Women and Their Infants in Cameroon

Dozio, Elizabeth, K. Le Roch, C. Bizouerne. Intervention, 18:78-84, January 2020
  • Early Childhood Development
Research Articles
The Baby Friendly Spaces program provides workshops focusing on improving maternal mental health, infant and young child feeding practices, early child stimulation, and parenting skills in the context of complex humanitarian emergencies. Researchers found statistically significant changes in psychosocial suffering among pregnant and lactating women, perceived social support, breastfeeding practices, and mother-child relationships.

Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Training Course for Maternity Staff

World Health Organization, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), August 2020
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Reports and Tools
Many health workers lack training to support women to establish and sustain breastfeeding. This resource provides guidance for leaders to plan a course and select trainers and participants. The trainer's guide contains slides and other materials to facilitate the course, while the participant manual provides worksheets, checklists, and job aids.

Barriers and Facilitators to Growth Monitoring and Promotion in Nepal: Household, Health Worker and Female Community Health Volunteer Perceptions

Pollifrone, Madeline M., Kenda Cunningham, Pooja Pandey Rana, et al. Maternal & Child Nutrition, July 2020
  • Nutrition and Health Systems
Research Articles
Growth assessment, analysis of growth status, and counseling are important factors in measuring growth monitoring and promotion (GMP). Research finds that providers and beneficiaries view GMP as secondary to curative services. Distance, long lines, and crying children hinder engagement, while provider knowledge, skills, and training are barriers. Community‐ and home‐based interventions with trained and supervised community‐based providers may be superior to facility‐based options.

Behavior Profile: Continued Breastfeeding

The Manoff Group, n.d.
  • Social and Behavior Change
Reports and Tools
This tool provides a framework for identifying individual, social, and structural factors that support or hinder continued breastfeeding through age two. Acknowledging the importance of external forces on continued breastfeeding, the tool guides the identification of supportive actions required by policymakers and others and facilitates thinking about possible program strategies.

Behavioral Insights into Micronutrient Powder Use for Childhood Anemia in Arequipa, Peru

Brewer, Jessica D., Julianna Shinnick, Karina Román, et al. Global Health: Science and Practice, December 2020
Research Articles
Barriers to using micronutrient powder (MNP) include previous experiences with health care providers, inconvenient access to MNP, and the absence of reminders to provide MNP. Providing culturally relevant messaging and encouraging changes to feeding routines can lower barriers. Health care provider training should encourage positive interpersonal interactions when initiating MNP. The abstract is available in Spanish.

Biases in Self-Reported Food Insecurity Measurement: A List Experiment Approach

Tadesse, Getaw, Gashaw T. Abate, Tadiwos Zewdie. Journal of Food Policy, March 2020
  • Food Systems
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
Research Articles
Challenges surrounding the impact evaluations of food security programs include issues with both objective and subjective measurements. Exploring the role of bias, researchers compared direct responses to food insecurity questions to indirect responses using a list experiment approach. The results from the data collected in two districts in northern Ethiopia showed that biases have led to false conclusions about the Ethiopian Household Asset Building program. The authors discuss possible options and precautionary actions that can mitigate the issues related to measuring food insecurity using self-reported questions.

Birth & Beyond iOS App

Global Health Media, June 2020
  • Early Childhood Development
Reports and Tools
The Birth & Beyond app provides easy access to videos for mothers and other caregivers that focus on birth, breastfeeding, newborn care, small baby care, and complementary feeding. Videos are currently available in 21 languages and can be streamed or downloaded to an offline library.  The app is free for download, works with iPhones, and its Android version is in development.

Body Composition During Outpatient Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition: Results from a Randomised Trial Testing Different Doses of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods

Kangas, Suvi T., Pernille Kaestel, Cécile Salpéteur, et al. Clinical Nutrition, March 2020
  • Nutrition in Humanitarian Contexts
Research Articles
Ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF), dosed by body weight, are the basis of treatment for uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition. Weight gain is the main way to monitor the effectiveness of such therapies. Previous reporting claimed that a lower-than-recommended dose of RUTF led to no less weight gain than the standard dose. This study was designed to examine that reporting and investigate the composition of gained mass based on this differential. The authors found there was no significant difference in tissue accretion in the lower dose of RUTF than in the standard dose.

The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: A Different World

Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, March 2020
  • Early Childhood Development
Events
Caregivers and health care workers caring for children through the current pandemic can listen to this series of podcasts on child development for advice and support. The podcasts cover a range of topics on how best to protect child development in the context of COVID-19, including the importance of caregiver mental health, how children can safely receive care from their pediatrician, and how to mitigate the effects on children as the virus disproportionately affects communities of color.