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Agriculture and Nutrition Resource Review

The Agriculture and Nutrition Resource Review is a monthly selection of materials to keep you updated on research and developments related to strengthening linkages between agriculture and nutrition. Resources from this month’s review are featured below. To see materials from earlier editions, or to view resources from across SPRING's technical areas, visit the Resource Review.

Interested in a broader perspective? You can find interesting resources from across SPRING’s technical areas in the Resource Review

A Look Back
Seminal literature with lasting relevance

Martorell R., Khan L.K., Schroeder D.G. "Reversibility of Stunting: Epidemiological Findings in Children from Developing Countries." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1994), Vol 48 Supp.

This study suggested that the potential for catch-up growth increases as maturation is delayed and the growth period is prolonged. However, it postulated that maturational delays in developing countries are usually less than two years, only enough to compensate for a small fraction of the growth retardation of early childhood. Follow-up studies find that subjects who remain in the setting in which they became stunted experience little or no catch-up in growth later in life. Improvements in living conditions, as through food supplementation or through adoption of improved nutritional practices, trigger catch-up growth but do so more effectively in the very young.

Online Community Corner
Discussions and resources from communities of practice and professional networks

Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition, October 2014

The Committee on World Food Security’s High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) is requesting feedback on the initial draft of its Water and Food Security Report. This e-consultation will be used by the HLPE to further elaborate the report, which will then be submitted to external expert reviewers, before finalization and approval by the HLPE Steering Committee. Agriculture-nutrition topics include charting the diversity of linkages between water and food security, and nutrition and the use of water in agricultural processing, among others.

Links to presentations, proceedings, and other meeting materials

CGIAR, September 2014

Co-sponsored by the CGIAR’s Independent Science and Partnership Council and Research Program on Agriculture and Nutrition, this two-day workshop sought to inform how future research proposals can better contribute to improving nutrition and health. Presentations included research topics related to increasing access to nutritious diets and evaluating the impact of agricultural interventions and investments on nutrition.

Agrilinks, September 2014

This Ag Sector Council event featured an update on a range of scientific advances that will directly impact the future of global rice supplies and the sustainability of intensive rice production systems. Robert S. Zeigler, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute, provided examples from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Africa.

Reports, Tools, and Other Related Materials
A diverse collection of programmatic materials and news

GAIN, October 2014

In observance of World Food Day, GAIN released an infographic of six things to celebrate on World Food Day, including progress in closing the gender gap and improving nutrition by introducing necessary vitamins and minerals. According to the infographic, promoting female farmer rights could reduce the number of undernourished people by 17 percent. Additionally, over the last decade, base foods fortified with vitamins and minerals have benefited 800 million people.

The Guardian, October 2014

Recent evidence from Peru suggests that children who were stunted as a result of the 2008 food crisis may have in fact recovered from what was once thought to be an irreversible condition. The group Young Lives has tracked the progress of 12,000 Peruvian children and found that around 59 percent who were stunted in 2002 when they were approximately one year old, were not stunted in 2009. The findings indicate that factors like household income, maternal education and health, local water, sanitation and health infrastructure, which are key to stunting prevention, are also important for recovery from stunting.

HarvestPlus, October 2014

The HarvestPlus annual report includes a look at seven biofortified varieties, including iron beans, vitamin A cassava, vitamin A maize, vitamin A orange sweet potato, iron pearl millet, zinc rice, and zinc wheat. Each variety includes a snapshot of implementation countries, nutritional benefits, and farmer benefits.   

UC Davis News Release, October 2014

A new $18.75 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development will boost international fruit and vegetable research led by the University of California, Davis. The Horticulture Innovation Lab tests and adapts these innovations through grant-funded research projects led by U.S. universities with international partners including entrepreneurs, foreign scientists, farm extension agents, government representatives, and others.

The World Bank, June 2014 

Drawing on learning from three decades of experience, this report identifies key missing factors that have prevented consistent and core ownership of and action to address nutrition within agriculture. The report proposes four core recommendations and offers key actions for the global development community and the World Bank Group.

IFPRI, October 2014

The 9th edition of IFPRI’s Global Hunger Index offers a multifaceted overview of global hunger that brings new insights to the global debate on where to focus efforts in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. This year’s report focuses on a critical aspect of hunger that is often overlooked: hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiencies, which affects an estimated two billion people globally. Chapter 4 of the report focuses on integrated approaches to address hidden hunger, highlighting projects in Zambia, Cambodia, and India.

Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, October 2014

An output from the A4NH March, 2014 meeting on “Developing a theory based framework to support the monitoring and evaluation of value chains for nutrition,” this paper develops and explains a framework based on program-theory concepts to support the identification, design and evaluation of value chain interventions for nutrition. The structure of the strategy is based on the pathways through which VCN interventions can be expected to improve nutrition, including three main channels linking the demand and supply for nutritious foods.

Research Articles
Recent findings from academic and peer-reviewed journals

Clasen, T., Boisson, S., Routray, P., Torondel, B.,Bell, M., et al. The Lancet Global Health  (November 2014) Vol. 2  No. 11 pp. e645-e653m.

This randomized control trial examined the effectiveness of a rural sanitation intervention to prevent diarrhea, soil-transmitted helminth infection, and child malnutrition in India. Contrary to other systematic reviews that have revealed health gains from rural household sanitation, the findings showed no evidence that a sanitation program in rural Odisha reduced exposure to fecal contamination or prevented diarrhea, soil-transmitted helminth infection, or child malnutrition. However, they are consistent with another trial of a sanitation project implemented within the context of the Total Sanitation Campaign in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Journal of Health Communications, October 2014

This supplement is the result of a 2013 Evidence Summit to determine which evidence-based interventions and strategies support a sustainable shift in health-related behaviors. Articles focus on behavior change in all forms: at the individual, community, and health systems levels; in gender and stigma and discrimination; and through mHealth, social media, and mass media. All articles in the supplement are free to download.

Gannon, B., Kaliwile, C., Arscott, S.A., Schmaelzle, S. Chileshe, J., et al. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (October 2014), e-pub ahead of print.

This randomized placebo-controlled biofortified maize efficacy trial in Zambia demonstrated that ‘orange’ vitamin A maize increases vitamin A storage in the body. This maize has been conventionally bred (non-GMO) to have higher levels of beta-carotene, a naturally occurring plant pigment that the body then converts into vitamin A.