Re: The e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security

Patrick Webb Tufts University, United States of America
13-12-2012

Regarding theme 3 on targets and indicators, I wholeheartedly agree with a target such as 'b' framed around zero stunting under 2.  That is arguably, the highest priorty overall in nutrition going forward, viable, and if done correctly, sustainable.  It does, of course, require child stunting to be a primary indicator, which all the implications that carries in terms of cost, training, and reporting--but I sense that the global community is ready for that to happen.

 

That said, stunting of children older than 2 needs to be tracked (so the indicator should arguably call for height for age to be collected and reported for <5s, with <2s separated out, and by gender).  What is more, there needs to be a parallel focus on some additional, equally critical elements of the nutrition problem which can't be assumed away by a single-minded focus on the 1,000 days.  These would include: a) key micronutrient deficiencies, b) childhood obesity, c) maternal nutrition and IUGR, and d) wasting (treatment as well as prevention).  Yes, these overlap with stunting, but not fully and not consistently--and success in achieving zero stunting in children under 2 can be compromised where these other dimensions are not addressed simultaneously.

 

The approach taken should therefore be one focused on net gains across these key dimensions of nutrition, not gross gains in one area at the expense of, or without, gains in each of the others.