Global efforts to reduce stunted growth in children recognized with World Food Prize

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27 Jun 2018 --- The 2018 World Food Prize has been awarded to Dr. Lawrence Haddad and Dr. David Nabarro to reward their “individual but complementary” global leadership in elevating maternal and child undernutrition within the food security and development dialogue. Their combined efforts resulted in reducing the world’s number of stunted children by 10 million between 2012 and 2017.

Lawrence Haddad and David Nabarro will be named the 2018 World Food Prize Laureates during a ceremony at the US Department of Agriculture on Monday.

“Drs. Haddad and Nabarro have dedicated their careers to reducing hunger and malnutrition,” says Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Their work has deepened our understanding of nutrition’s impact not only on individual health but on human capital and economic growth – compelling leaders in countries across the world to invest in evidence-based solutions.” 

The World Food Prize is the most prominent global award for individuals whose breakthrough achievements alleviate hunger and promote global food security. This year’s US$250,000 prize will be divided equally between the two recipients.

Dr. Haddad brought the issue of nutrition to the forefront by using both economic and medical research to convince development leaders to make child nutrition an urgent priority in the global food security agenda while serving as head of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in the UK from 2004 to 2014. 

From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Haddad prompted further investment in nutrition by co-chairing the Global Nutrition Report, an annual review of the state of the world's progress on nutrition that encouraged greater transparency and accountability among more than 100 stakeholders who had pledged US$23 billion to the fight against malnutrition. Dr. Haddad now serves as Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), where he continues to lead private and public sector partners in improving nutrition outcomes.

Dr. Nabarro serves as the head of the UN High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security in 2008 to 2014 and is the Coordinator of the United Nation’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement in 2010 up until 2014. It is said that he united 54 countries and one Indian state under the SUN movement to implement evidence-based policies and to fight child malnutrition in South Asia and Africa.  Many participating countries reported a significant decline in the number of stunted children after adopting SUN guidelines. Dr. Nabarro continues to oversee SUN through his service on its advisory Lead Group.

“For their extraordinary intellectual and policy leadership in bringing maternal and child nutrition to the forefront of the global food security agenda and thereby significantly reducing childhood stunting, it is truly most fitting that Dr. Lawrence Haddad and Dr. David Nabarro join the list of illustrious scientists, policy officials and hunger fighters who have been named World Food Prize Laureates over the past 32 years,” added World Food Prize President Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn.

Dr. Nabarro tells NutritionInsight, “I am honored to receive the World Food Prize together with Dr. Lawrence Haddad. As I react to the news of this wonderful award, I reflect on the many thousands of courageous women and men who are working at the local level to ensure that the food that people eat is produced in ways that are well-functioning, sustainable and just.”
 
“The whole period of my life in which I have been working to fight malnutrition is a highlight of my career. There are few other areas through which it is possible to make a lasting difference to the opportunities and prospects for all people, everywhere.”

NutritionInsight has previously reported on key malnutrition combatting techniques. Research from Flinders University in South Australia highlighted the potential of resistant starch in providing nutrition in low and middle-income countries. While methods of food fortification implemented by DSM’s Nutrition Improvement segment hold promise for global malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. You can read the full key interview with its director, Anthony Hehir, here

By Laxmi Haigh

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