Access to Safe, Nutritious Food and Water is Fundamental Human Right: Updated Position of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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CHICAGO – Consistent access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and water is a fundamental human right, and is particularly important in helping developing nations to achieve food and nutrition security, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in its newly updated position paper, Nutrition Security in Developing Nations: Sustainable Food, Water and Health.
Achieving food and nutrition security also includes policies, systems, programs and practices that are self-sufficient and environmentally and economically sustainable, according to the Academy.
The Academy's position paper has been published in the April Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and can be found on the Academy's website. It states:
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that all people should have consistent access to an appropriately nutritious diet of food and water, coupled with a sanitary environment, adequate health services and care that ensure a healthy and active life for all household members. The Academy supports policies, systems, programs and practices that work with developing nations to achieve nutrition security and self-sufficiency while being environmentally and economically sustainable.
Nutrition security includes access to nutritious foods and drinkable water; knowledge, resources and skills for healthy living; prevention, treatment and care for diseases affecting nutrition status; and safety net systems during crisis situations, such as natural disasters or social and political turmoil, according to the Academy.
Throughout the world, approximately 30 percent of children under age 5 are stunted in their growth and 18 percent are underweight. While these percentages are decreasing, they remain unacceptably high in some regions. In addition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies affect about 36 percent of the world's population.
The Academy's position paper focuses on nutrient deficiencies in developing nations and the contributions – especially on the part of food and nutrition practitioners – that are necessary to create global solutions.
The Academy's position paper addresses many factors contributing to nutrition security, including sustainable use of resources; agricultural systems; maternal, infant and child health; gender equality; universal primary education; food and water systems; economic systems; partnerships for development; national food and nutrition policies, laws and programs; and proposed solutions.
Registered dietitian nutritionists, dietetic technicians, registered and other health practitioners play an important role in achieving global nutrition security, domestically and internationally. The Academy's position paper outlines ways nutrition professionals can become involved in promoting global nutrition security.
The Academy's position paper was written by registered dietitian Stacia M. Nordin, sustainable nutritionist, Malawi; Marie Boyle, professor and chair, foods and nutrition program, College of Saint Elizabeth; and Teresa M. Kemmer, assistant professor, South Dakota State University.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.