A consortium of nations, organizations, researchers, and academics have 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’ 192 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.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Kimani, one of the report authors, “the report shows that investments in nutrition have high returns and are critical to achievement of sustainable development.”
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. It 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.
Dr. Elizabeth Kimani, revealed that for Kenya “the benefit-cost ratio of scaling-up nutrition-specific interventions to reduce stunting by 20% is 19 – meaning that for every shilling that Kenya spends in scaling up a core-package of nutrition-specific interventions to reduce stunting by 20%, 19 shillings will be returned.” According to her, “this calls for greater investment in reducing stunting, which remains very high at 35%, and which World Health Assembly (WHA) target Kenya’s progress is lowest.”