December 2019 was very active. The Lancet published, with outstanding media coverage, four papers to discuss the double burden of malnutrition in low-income and middle-income countries. It is not a new topic; many countries have faced this epidemiological paradox for many years. However, the prominence of this journal and the signing authors makes of it a significant step forward to enable global policy change and investment.
I have ambivalent feelings about one of those papers: the commentary A new nutrition manifesto for a new nutrition reality. While I think it’s very positive to unify the views of key nutrition actors, I also believe that
We cannot continue writing about breaking silos if there are no signatories from other sectors.
Nutrition is like a child who has new cleats and is watching street football, hoping to be invited to play. Other sectors, within and outside health, have significantly more financial and human resources than nutrition and are already organized towards 2030. Our challenge is to engage them quickly so that they consider nutrition critical to scoring their goals.
On a separate note, the food systems conversation keeps gaining adepts. The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolutions designating 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables and two specific days related to food and nutrition:
- 21 May as International Tea Day, and
- 29 September as International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.
Two blogs caught my attention. In the first one, Jess Fanzo brilliantly portrayed 2019 as the year of the reports, calling for fewer documents of such type and more action. In the second, Yoni Freedhoff with high synthetic capacity reminds us how to stay healthy over the next year in 48 words. More data doesn’t mean more action. Let’s keep things simple and actionable.
From my end, my inspiration comes from the unfinished challenge of improving global nutrition and seeing young people like Greta Thunberg willing to change the status quo. Dare more!
Have a healthy and fruitful 2020!!