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WHO, WFP, UN Focus on Food Quality for Addressing Moderate Malnutrition

The September 2009 issue of the UN's Food and Nutrition Bulletin turns a bright light on improving food quality for the treatment of moderate malnutrition for children in low-income settings.  "Children with moderate malnutrition should get the foods that provide all the nutrients they need for full recovery, not just the food choice that represents the cheapest option to provide them energy and proteins," write editors André Briend and Zita Weise Prinzo.

Animal-source foods, such as dairy, provide greater nutrient density and lower anti-nutrient content than current supplementary foods, and are most likely to reduce stunting without leading to obesity.  But programs striving to provide these benefits will have to overcome the burden of a higher per-recipient cost, not an easy charge for programs continuously trying to expand coverage.

This volume provides an excellent summary of scientist and policy-maker recommendations from the September 2008 World Health Organization-sponsored meeting that launched a major review of dietary guidelines for treatment of moderate malnutrition by the WHO, World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, and other UN agencies.  Full texts of articles are available at http://www.foodandnutritionbulletin.org/fnbhome.php (Vol.30, No. 3, Supplement).