Very Good Morning to all of you. On the behalf of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, I wish to welcome you all and wish to express my appreciation to the FAO Division of Nutrition and the Institute of Nutrition, University of Mahidol, for arranging the organization of this training.
According to the latest estimates figures from FAO, almost 842 million people worldwide (representing 12 per cent of the global population) remain undernourished in terms of dietary energy supply. This means that one in every eight persons still does not have enough to eat in terms of calorie content or energy intake. The situation persists despite the fact that globally there is enough food for all. Further, an estimated 26 percent (or around 165 million) of the world’s children are stunted, and almost 30 per cent of the world population suffers from one or more micronutrient deficiencies. Asia and the Pacific region accounts for nearly 63 percent of chronically hungry people, in South Asia around 39 percent of children under age of five are stunted and nearly 1.5 billion people in the region, representing three quarters of all those suffering globally from micronutrient-deficiency. FAO is advocating that unless more attention is given to nutrition-enhancing agriculture and food-based interventions that promote access, availability and consumption of a variety and diversity of safe, good quality nutritious foods, the goal of ending hunger may not be achieved. An essential element to food-based interventions involves dietary diversification or consumption of a wide variety of foods across nutritionally distinct food groups. Valid and timely nutrition assessment is the foundation on which effective interventions and programmes can be built to improve the food and nutrition situation of people. Standardized indicators are crucial for making cross-country comparisons and estimating trends. It is also important to enhancing national capacity in generating, managing, and using food and nutrition security information for developing effective policies and programmes that address both short and long term causes of hunger.
FAO promotes the use of simple assessment indicators for measuring dietary consumption and food security. The Organization has developed a standardized tool for measuring dietary diversity which can administered at either the household or individual level.
I sincerely hope that this training will provide an opportunity for acquiring knowledge and skills in using the dietary diversity tool that can also be used to inform baseline assessment, programme design and monitoring and evaluation.
Thank you and enjoy your stay in Bangkok.