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Adolescent Nutrition CALL TO ACTION: Better Data Now to Drive Better Policies and Programs in the Future

Girls talking as they work.

The nutrition of the world's estimated 1.2 billion adolescents (10–19 years old) will have a profound impact on their current and future health and wellbeing, that of their children, and society as a whole. Through the promotion of healthy diet and eating practices during adolescence, we have the potential to mitigate nutritional deficits generated during the first decade of life, break intergenerational cycles of malnutrition, and limit the epidemic of obesity and noncommunicable diseases (NCD) in adulthood. However, quality data on boys’ and girls’ nutrition during this critical adolescent period is scarce, as is evidence of the effectiveness of nutrition policies and programs for this population.

The 10 commitments of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016–2025) call for countries to ensure healthy diets throughout the life course.

This must include adolescents.

To define key evidence and implementation gaps, prioritize future research, and propose next steps to move the adolescent nutrition agenda forward, a Stakeholders Consultation on Adolescent Girls’ Nutrition: Evidence, Guidance, and Gaps was organized in October of 2017, co-hosted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the USAID-funded Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project; and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). More than 40 global experts, representing academic and research institutions, nongovernmental organizations, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and several donor agencies, gathered at PAHO headquarters in Washington, DC. These experts discussed the findings of the report Diet and Eating Practices among Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review, a summary of the WHO document Guideline: implementing effective actions for improving adolescent nutrition, and relevant presentations.

Seven Priority Actions

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Engage and partner with adolescents in the design and implementation of research, policies, programs, regulations, and guidelines, recognizing and learning from successful engagement with adoles cents in other sectors.
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Assess how nutrition policies and regulations shape the food environment and influence adolescent nutrition and diet quality.
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Develop and use standardized indicators for assessing adolescent health, nutrition, and social and emotional well-being.
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Ensure that adolescents are included in national nutrition surveillance, appropriately sampled in population surveys, and disaggregated in routine program monitoring data.
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Conduct quantitative and qualitative research to measure, analyze, and address the underlying determinants of malnutrition and the context-specific factors affecting adolescents’ food choices, diet and eating practices, physical activity, and social and emotional well-being.
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Design implementation research to improve program delivery, utilization, cost effectiveness, and scale, exploring the use of existing programs and platforms when feasible.
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Conduct rigorous evaluations of interventions to assess their impact and determine the right combination and dosage of macro and micronutrients as well as the optimal age and duration for adolescent interventions to enhance growth and development outcomes.

The following organizations originated this CALL TO ACTION and the full listing of 100+ organizations that have since committed appears below.

Logos of organizations that joined the call to action

Organizations Committed to the Adolescent Nutrition CALL TO ACTION
AASRAAga Khan FoundationAga Khan University

Access to Nutrition Foundation

African Population and Health
Research Center

Ako Foundation

Alive & Thrive

AM Ethical Trades Private

Arogya World

Association for Women's
Empowerment, Cameroon

Backward Society Education,

Bill & Melinda Gates

Bread for the World

Breakthrough Action

CARE International

Caritas Bangladesh

Center for Global Child Health
- Hospital for Sick Kids

Center for Natural Resource

Centre for Food Policy

Christian Aid

Coalition of Centers in Global
Child Health

Community Rural Development

Concern Worldwide

Cornucopia Group Inc.

Dalit Right and Communication
Campaign, Nepal



Digital Broadcast Initiative
Equal Access

Egyptian Lactation Consultant

Emergency Nutrition Network

Farm Radio International-Uganda

Federal University of
Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

Feed the Future Senegal Youth
in Agriculture


Fortification Initiative

Global Alliance for Improved

Global Communities

Global Financing Facility

Global Food & Nutrition

Harvard T.H. Chan School of
Public Health


Hope for the Handicapped
Persons Foundation



International Pediatric Association

Institut ICADES

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School
of Public Health

Johns Hopkins University


Justice Development & Peace
Caritas, Sokoto State

Kalika Self-reliance Social
Center, Laghe, Nepal

Kenya Nutritionists and
Dieticians Institute

Lilongwe University of
Agriculture & Natural Resources

The Maharaja SayajiRao
University of Baroda

The Manoff Group, Inc

MARCH Centre, London School of
Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Maternal & Infant Health

Mercy Corps

Michael Okpara University of
Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria

Milken Institute School of
Public Health at George Washington University

Ministère de la Santé Et De La
Population, Democratic Republic of Congo

Ministry of Health &
Sanitation, Sierra Leone

Ministry of Health Uganda

National Nutrition Program



Nutrition International


Project Concern

Population Council

Positive Development Partnership

Peace Child Community Cetre

Plant Resources Center

Reproductive Health Uganda

Rescue Food Project

Rural Woman and Youth
Development Sokoto, Nigeria.

Rural Women's Development and
Unity Center

Sackler Institute, NY Academy
of Sciences

Sari Nutrition

Save the Children

Sight and Life

Skotisma Zazavavy Malagasy



Social Awareness Center, Nepal

Social Development And
Awareness Society, Nepal

SPRING Project

Sri Lanka Medical Nutrition
Association (SLMNA)

Scaling Up Nutrition Civil
Society Network

Samaritan’s Purse

Savica Consultancy


Sustainable Drylands Initiative

Sustainable Rural Community
Development Organisation

Transforming Adolescent Lives
through Nutrition

The Cornucopia Group Inc.

The Maharaja SayajiRao
University of Baroda , Department of Foods and Nutrition

Thought For Food

UNC Gillings School of Global
Public Health


The UN Refugee Agency

Universitas Jenderal Soedirman,
School of Medicine, Indonesia

Urban Food InternationalUSAID

Voluntary Association for Rural
Reconstruction & Appropriate Technology

Wageningen University

West African Academy of Public

White Ribbon Alliance,

The World Bank

World Food Programme

World Vision

Yale University, School of
Public Health

Youth Advocacy Network of Kenya

Download the Call to Action (PDF, 1.27 MB)