Advancing Global Nutrition for Adolescent and Family Health: Innovations in Research and Training


Friday, February 16, 2018 (All day) to Saturday, February 17, 2018 (All day)


Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery–Dubai

Nutrition brings together issues of newborn and child health, adolescent and reproductive health, infectious disease, noncommunicable diseases, health systems, and health care delivery. Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all child deaths globally [Black RE et al, 2013]. While undernutrition remains an important challenge across much of Africa and Asia, epidemics of overweight and obesity are increasing rapidly. The recently adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underscore the importance of nutrition for addressing global health challenges, bridging sectors including health, agriculture, and development.

The nutrition-related health challenges of developing country populations are multifaceted. Approximately 59 million children in Africa are stunted, 14 million wasted, and 10 million overweight [UNICEF et al 2017]. Despite declines in stunting rates, due to population growth, the number of stunted children is increasing. India has some of the highest rates of undernutrition globally and is home to 40 percent of the world’s stunted children and 50 percent of wasted children. At the same time, obesity among adults is increasing in every African and Asian country [IFPRI, 2015]. To reduce the burden of malnutrition, new approaches are needed that can adequately address women’s and adolescent nutrition and health as well as that of infants and children [Danaei G et al, 2016]. A broader food systems perspective can help address the double burden of malnutrition—conditions of under-nutrition and overweight and diet-related illness—in developing country populations.

The “Advancing Global Nutrition for Adolescent and Family Health: Innovations in Research and Training” workshop focused on nutrition among adolescents in low- and middle-income countries, bringing multidisciplinary experts together to review the state of scientific knowledge and address gaps and opportunities for research and action. Participants reviewed a range of research studies and considered six avenues for intervention: adolescent anemia, sexual and reproductive health, schools and urban food systems, mental health and development, homestead food production, and longitudinal community-based research.

The workshop identified three short-term and five long-term collaborative projects. Research proposals will be developed for several of these ideas with partnership among the various participants.


  • Black RE, et al., Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet, 2013. 382(9890): p. 427-451.
  • Danaei G, et al. Risk Factors for Childhood Stunting in 137 Developing Countries: A Comparative Risk Assessment Analysis at Global, Regional, and Country Levels. PLoS Med. 2016 Nov 1;13(11):e1002164.
  • International Food Policy Research Institute. 2015. Global Nutrition Report 2015: Actions and Accountability to Advance Nutrition and Sustainable Development. Washington, DC.
  • UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Group, 2017. Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates – Key findings of the 2017 edition.

Number of Participants: 20
Number of Countries: 7
Countries Represented: Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Tanzania, Uganda, United States of America, United Arab Emirates