098 Livestock-derived foods and the first 1000 days

The essential role of livestock-derived foods in the nutrition of mothers and infants

Organizers

  • International Livestock Research Institute 
  • Chatham House
  • Sight and Life
  • Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)

Abstract

Good nutrition during the 1,000 days between conception and a child's second birthday is crucial to ensuring optimal health, physical growth and brain development. Good nutrition is also required by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. However, while progress has been made in tackling poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, undernutrition remains unacceptably high and over nutrition is trending upwards worldwide.  Among children under five in 2014, 159 million were estimated to be stunted (around one in four), 50 million wasted and 41 million overweight (UNICEF 2015). Moreover, micronutrient deficiencies, especially of iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc, are common among children and pregnant women in developing countries. 

Livestock-derived foods are the edible products obtained from farm animals, such as meat, milk, eggs and their derived products. These are nutrient-dense foods, rich in essential micronutrients and vitamins. Moderate intakes of livestock-derived foods can improve diets and nutrition, especially in a child's early years. While consumption of livestock-derived foods is very high in high-income countries, levels of consumption among most people in low- and middle-income countries are below recommendations, especially among the poorest communities. Yet livestock are widely present in those communities, and this provides great opportunities to enhance household diets in those settings and enhance the future of the next generation.

This side event will present the recently published findings of extensive research conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Chatham House, Sight and Life and the Children's Investment Innovation Foundation (CIFF) on the roles of livestock-derived foods in nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life. A multidisciplinary and international expert panel will discuss evidence of the roles milk, meat and eggs play in nutrition, critically analyze the nutritional, health and environmental trade-offs in the production of these foods and propose concrete actions for international donors and policymakers to take to make better and wider use of these foods where they are needed most. The session will also give participants an opportunity to support, question or challenge the arguments presented and provide alternatives to the proposed policy actions.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Osman Dar, Project Director, One Health Project, Chatham House
  • Lora Iannotti, Associate Professor for Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Silvia Alonso, Senior Scientist/Epidemiologist, ILRI
  • Klaus Kraemer, Managing Director, Sight and Life Foundation 
  • Boitshepo Giyose, Senior Advisor on Nutrition, NEPAD
  • Maya Stewart, Director, Lenziemill and Maeve Project

Main themes/issues discussed

  1. The role of livestock-derived foods in nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, particularly in poor communities
  2. The role of milk, meat and eggs in nutrition
  3. Nutritional, health and environmental trade-offs in the production of livestock derived foods
  4. Actions for international donors and policymakers to take

Summary of key points

Good nutrition in the 1,000 days between conception and a child's second birthday is crucial to ensuring optimal health, physical growth and brain development. Good nutrition is also required by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Progress has been made in tackling poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life. However, undernutrition remains unacceptably high. Moreover, nutrient deficiencies in iron, vitamin A, iodine, zinc, and some fatty acids are common among children and pregnant women in developing countries. Livestock-derived foods - the edible products obtained from farm animals, such as meat, milk, eggs and their derived products - are rich in bioavailable nutrients but often lacking in the diets of low-resource populations. Moderate intakes of livestock-derived foods can improve diets and nutrition, especially in a child's early years.

While consumption of livestock-derived foods is high in high-income countries, levels of consumption among most people in low- and middle-income countries are below recommendations, especially among the poorest communities. Yet livestock are widely present in those communities, and this provides great opportunities to enhance household diets in those settings and enhance the future of the next generation.

Accompanied by institutional and policy interventions, increased investments in production, efficiency, and waste reduction among small-and medium-scale livestock producers who produce the bulk of livestock and crop foods in developing regions are needed to realize economic growth and improved access to animal source foods among vulnerable populations.

Ultimately, inclusive livestock development and attention to equitable access to animal-source foods will contribute to zero hunger and good health and well-being for all.

Key Messages

  1. Livestock-derived foods (eggs, milk and meat) can support nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, particularly in communities where diets are suboptimal and non-diverse.
  2. National governments and international decision makers should have livestock development plans and nutritional targets.
  3. Equitably increasing the availability and affordability of safe livestock-derived foods in low- and middle-income countries, while respecting national dietary preferences and social norms, can help tackle rising global hunger.
  4. Sustainable livestock production and its derived foods can make an important contribution to meeting SDG 2. Livestock targeted investments could enable more equitable access to nutritious foods.
  5. Global livestock production has a significant environmental footprint. Measures to address environmental sustainability should not compromise access to livestock-derived foods for the most vulnerable.
CFS - Side Event 098: Livestock-derived foods and the first 1000 days.