November 13, 2014, London—A consortium of nations, organizations, researchers, and academics has released the first-ever comprehensive narrative on global health and country-level progress toward reducing malnutrition across the globe.
The Global Nutrition Report (GNR) provides a global profile and country profiles on nutrition for each of the United Nations’ 193 member states, and includes specific progress for each country. It will be a centerpiece of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in Rome on 19-21 November, organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization.
“The GNR will contribute to country-led efforts to strengthen accountability, share learning about what is working, and highlight bottlenecks to progress and how they may be overcome,” said Lawrence Haddad, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and co-chair of the independent expert group that produced the report.
The report provides a one-stop composite of the often fragmented and disparate information available on global nutrition, and fills in some critical gaps in knowledge and data collection. It covers nutrition status outcomes, program coverage, and underlying determinants, such as food security and water, sanitation and hygiene, resource allocations, and institutional and policy transformations.
The report offers case studies from Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, and the Indian state of Maharashtra. Country profiles provide dashboards of more than 80 indicators on nutrition outcomes, determinants, program coverage, resources, and political commitment.
Almost every country in the world, rich or poor, faces a serious public health risk due to malnutrition, either from undernutrition, obesity, or micronutrient deficiencies. The cost of poor nutrition is high: premature death, stressed health systems, and a severe drag on economic progress. While economic growth can help reduce malnutrition, boosting an economy is not enough to rid a country of malnutrition, and often makes overweight and obesity more likely.
“Because the costs of failing to act are tragically high for all countries, we must develop stronger accountability mechanisms with better data and more transparency, as well as stronger feedback systems to improve nutrition status,” Haddad said. “This report is a critical first step in that direction.”