Global Nutrition Report 2016

Three steps to improving nutrition worldwide

Published June 14, 2016

Corinna Hawkes, co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report, urges political leaders to learn from the successes of countries such as Brazil and Kenya.

The key findings of the 2016 Global Nutrition Report, launched today at EAT Stockholm Food Forum, are sobering – 44 percent of countries included in the report suffer serious levels of both undernutrition and obesity, and malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all deaths of children under the age of five. But all is not bleak.


«There is some good news, with a significant number of countries on track to achieve their targets for certain forms of malnutrition»

Professor Hawkes identified 3 things that the international community can learn from countries that are leading the battle against malnutrition around the globe:

1. Political leadership: Brazil

Hawkes identified “political will, and engaging with populations”, as a key driver in improving global nutrition, and singles out Brazil as having shown particularly strong leadership over recent years. Brazil has “drasticly transformed its nutrition landscape” in recent decades through a range of national policies led by civil society and the government, including the Food Acquisition Program (PAA) – a public procurement policy that supports smallholders and puts more fruits and vegetables into the national diet.

2. Clear targets: Kenya

Countries and businesses that make public commitments and set targets are more likely to see improvements in nutrition. Hawkes reiterated the need for “clear targets, clear financing and a whole range of different actions” to bring about change, praising countries such as Kenya, where in 2015 the government launched the Kenya National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2015–2020, including a target of no increase in obesity and diabetes among adults. The strategy sets out a range of measures to combat obesity which are integrated fully into national health policies.

3. Continual learning – way forward

It is not enough to create new policies, these need constant re-evaluation to check they are working and change course if they are not.  “When you’re committed to something you’re able to hold a mirror up to yourself, to put an action in place and then ask – is this working?”, said Hawkes. She concluded that an “ability to reflect and learn [from mistakes]”, would help to guide a “steady accumulation” of knowledge and progress in the fight against malnutrition.

The 2016 Global Nutrition Report is available to view and download online now.