Nutrition

Nutrition Requirements

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provides scientific advice on nutrient requirements to Member Countries and international bodies, including the Codex Alimentarius Commission. National and international agencies use this information for developing policies and programmes for actions to improve nutrition throughout the world. FAO activities on nutritional requirements include development of practical applications and tools for improving nutrition, such as nutrition labelling, training workshops and research related to nutrient requirements. 

CALL FOR EXPERTS:  for updating FAO/WHO iron, vitamin A, folate and magnesium requirements for children aged 0 – 36 months

December 2020

The FAO Food and Nutrition Division and the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety are in the process of updating nutrient requirements for children aged 0 – 36 months, originally established jointly by FAO and WHO in 2004. In preparing for the work of updating the requirements, the nutrients were prioritized in batches of 3-4 nutrients and work on calcium, vitamin D and zinc is currently well under way. The next batch of nutrients to be updated is iron, vitamin A, folate and magnesium. FAO and WHO are therefore currently seeking to identify experts who would be able to serve in the expert group that will be updating the nutrient requirements for these nutrients in children aged 0 – 36 months. 

For more information on the call for experts, including desired qualifications and responsibilities of experts, please visit https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/call-for-experts-for-updating-fao-who-iron-vitamin-a-folate-and-magnesium-requirements-for-children-aged-0-36-months 

Documents must be submitted by 31 January 2021 to be eligible for consideration. Documents can be submitted through the online submission form at https://extranet.who.int/dataformv3/index.php/961257.  Detailed instructions for submitting documents are provided in the online submission form.


The first committee on calorie (energy) requirements made a number of points which are still pertinent today. Among the most important were:

  • Requirements were intended for groups of persons rather than individuals, i.e., an average requirement can never be compared directly with an individual (requirement).
  • Judgement must be exercised in interpreting and using requirement values.
  • It is essential to address the practical applications of the requirements, a task assigned to the Secretariat.