Inspiring action on malnutrition
Malnutrition can take many forms and affects most of the global population irrespective of location, age, wealth or gender. Across the world it is unacceptably high, and progress to tackle it is unacceptably slow. It is responsible for more ill health than any other cause. Children under five years of age face multiple burdens: 150.8 million are stunted, 50.5 million are wasted and 38.3 million are overweight. Meanwhile 20 million babies are born of low birth weight each year. Overweight and obesity among adults are at record levels with 38.9% of adults overweight or obese, stretching from Africa to North America, and increasing among adolescents. Women have a higher burden than men when it comes to certain forms of malnutrition: one third of all women of reproductive age have anaemia and women have a higher prevalence of obesity than men. Millions of women are underweight.
The purpose of our work
In 2018, DI began hosting the Global Nutrition Report, the world’s foremost independent publication on the status of malnutrition. It is data led and produced each year to show where progress has been made, whether commitments are being met, and where challenges remain. Its purpose is to inspire governments, civil society, businesses and others to act to end malnutrition in all its forms. It also provides data on progress in nutrition for every country in the world via online profiles, and plays the important role of helping hold stakeholders to account on Nutrition for Growth (N4G) commitments that have been made towards tackling malnutrition. Our role as host means we work with an Independent Expert Group and Stakeholder Group to collect and analyse data and write and produce the report, as well as nutrition profiles for every country globally, and to track delivery against Nutrition for Growth commitments. We also lead on all engagement and promotion of the report and its messages, and strengthening its digital presence, ensuring content is optimised for stakeholders.
The most recent Global Nutrition Report was published in November 2018 and highlighted five critical steps needed to speed up progress on ending malnutrition. For the first time, the 2018 report brought together diet data with data on malnutrition and financing for nutrition. It demonstrated the importance of diet in adolescence and in children under five, and made critical links between diets and the increase in non-communicable diseases. The 2018 Global Nutrition Report also provided the data disaggregated at the regional and national level through country profiles for all countries.
"The Global Nutrition Report indicates that no country is free from malnutrition,which calls for a period of partnerships amongst us;we can achieve more united than separated”First Lady of Ethiopia, Zinash Tayachew, in her opening address to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition conference in in Bangkok, 2018
In 2018, we reached more people than ever before with vital data and evidence on malnutrition to drive advocacy efforts and better-informed decision making. Through the creation of a new website for the Global Nutrition Report, we drove twice as many users and more than three times as many visitors to the report online than the year before. Our communications efforts resulted in 300 pieces of media in 52 countries, covering every continent. As part of our media efforts, we also successfully shifted the narrative on malnutrition as being impossible to solve; focusing greater attention on where progress has been made and what should be done next. And our messaging helped ensure the issues were positioned as a truly universal issue, not just something relevant to developing countries. This was a key outcome in ensuring the report inspires action on malnutrition in all its forms, everywhere.
“My closing ask is that you take all the evidence and analysis in this excellent report and use it to galvanise the leaders of your own organisations."UK Minister of State at the Department for International Development, Alistair Burt, at the Food Thinkers Seminar Series by City, University of London, 2018
The key priority for the Global Nutrition Report moving forward is to continue to provide an independent, credible and data-driven perspective on both the progress made and action that needs to be taken to achieve the global target to end malnutrition in all its forms. Our constant efforts to ensure the report’s independence and unique contribution to evidence on the nutrition landscape mean we are welcoming a change in the report’s Co-Chairs in 2019 and a refresh of membership of the Stakeholder Group in 2020.
The Global Nutrition Report will make an important contribution in the run up to the 2020 Japan Nutrition for Growth Summit to highlight SMART commitments (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) that stakeholders can adopt to accelerate progress on nutrition. The Global Nutrition Report will undertake greater outreach and engagement at key moments throughout the year in recognition of the role it can play in ensuring its evidence and insights are translating into much-needed action.