News / USA

    US to Supply Healthier Food to World's Hungry

    Focus is on proper nutrition for the 1st 1,000 days of life

    A Bangladeshi man receives food aid from USAID following Cyclone Sidr in 2007.
    A Bangladeshi man receives food aid from USAID following Cyclone Sidr in 2007.

    Multimedia

    New recommendations call for significant changes in the nutritional content of foods the United States delivers to the world's hungry.

    The United States is the world's largest supplier of food aid, reaching 55 million people in 46 countries last year, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

    That assistance has saved millions of lives over the years.

    But Tufts University nutrition expert Patrick Webb says, "There was a bit of an impression that as long as you delivered food, that was enough. And really, what we have been arguing and demonstrating is that, no, just any old food isn't enough."

    Webb says that's especially true for young children, who have greater nutritional needs in the first thousand days of life. In the new report commissioned by USAID and released Tuesday in Washington, Webb and his colleagues note that malnutrition in the period from the womb to age two can cause irreparable damage to a child's growth and brain development. That in turn affects a child's ability to learn and ultimately lowers national productivity.

    The report recommends more nutritious foods for children under two and pregnant women.

    USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah says the report may lead to significant changes. "We'll look specifically into the recommendations into how to get more animal protein into foods so kids don't just get calories, but get the nutrition they need for brain development and human growth."

    The report also recommends improving the vitamin and mineral content of grains and oils. Those are relatively easy fixes that may reach beneficiaries this year. But adding animal protein to food targeted for young children is more difficult to accomplish.

    A man receives 50 kilograms of US sorghum in southern Ethiopia during 2010.
    A man receives 50 kilograms of US sorghum in southern Ethiopia during 2010.

    "Unfortunately, there are manufacturing challenges that come to bear, looking at things like shelf life as well as cost," says Stephen Moody, USAID food technology expert.

    But Susan Shepherd with the humanitarian group Doctors without Borders says the report does not go far enough.  

    "It's not at all clear to me that this report is making a strong stand in terms of improving the quality of foods they're trying to give to children," she says.

    Shepherd adds that while the report acknowledges the value of nutrient-packed ready-to-eat foods for treating malnutrition, it continues to rely on cheaper fortified grain and soybean blends that do not provide enough nutrition for young children.

    And she says it does not provide aid workers with enough guidance on using ready-to-eat foods.

    "If I read this report as somebody in the field, it's all over the map," she says. "I don't know what I should be using when. And as long as they keep focusing on how much it costs, how much it costs, how much it costs, then these kids are never going to get what they need."

    But USAID officials say they are already seeing benefits in programs that are currently following the report's recommendations. They say within a year other programs will start to see changes that will fight malnutrition more effectively among some of the world's most vulnerable people.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.