Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) are established in several countries around the world to address the nutrition concerns of populations (FAO, 2016). FBDGs inform the public about consuming nutritious foods and living a healthy life (FAO, 2016). However, the methods and strategies to educate the public, especially those living in rural communities, and their evaluation are limited. Therefore, the purpose of this technical note is to two-fold: 1) to assist health professionals and non-health professionals educate the public about understanding and using FBDGs, and 2) to provide organizations an overview of methods to evaluate these teaching strategies for their effectiveness in changing community members’ dietary behaviors.
In many developing countries, food insecurity combined with a high incidence of infections continues to affect detrimentally the nutrition and health status of poor households. Wasting and stunting are important indicators of undernutrition. Wasting reflects acute food shortages and health problems, and stunting reveals the longer-term presence of nutrition problems. The signs and symptoms of specific micronutrient deficiencies are much less commonly known or recognized by local people and therefore not acted upon as frequently. However, specific micronutrient deficiencies frequently go hand-in-hand with general undernutrition.
Case Studies of Curriculum Review and Operational Lessons From India
Even after several decades of green revolution, malnutrition continues to be a major development challenge in much of South Asia, and India has a major share of the malnourished people in the region. The nutritional issues in India are complex and therefore require a multifaceted, multidisciplinary solution. One facet of the solution is increasing knowledge about the causes of and solutions to malnutrition at the farm household level through agricultural extension. Disseminating nutrition-sensitive agricultural knowledge is not currently an activity of agricultural extension in India, but there is great potential for integrating it through the well-established network of extension offi cers. For nutrition goals to be integrated into extension, the curricula provided to current and future agricultural extension agents must be revisited. As part of the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI), this paper focuses on approaches to incorporating such nutrition content into the agricultural extension curriculum.
Three state agricultural universities in Tamil Nadu, united Andhra Pradesh, and Bihar were used as case studies for the curriculum review. Through these case studies, face-to-face consultations at the national level down to program implementation at the village level have been developed. These include consultative workshops, and a conceptual framework and strategy for incorporating nutrition into extension curriculum development to improve nutrition outcomes. This strategy, detailed in this report, includes opportunities for collaboration from the national level to the community level. Specifi c lessons and follow-up actions are outlined that may be useful for other South Asian countries.