Food security and nutrition – Trinidad News

YOU MIGHT agree that working together whether in teams, groups, or alongside respected colleagues and office mates can probably aid in getting the job done. Whatever the case, resolving issues at times calls for a team approach. This simply means that families, communities, educational institutions, business and faith-based organisations can collaborate and work together on projects pertaining to becoming more food secure.

Food security can be described as having access to adequate food that is safe, nutritious, and available to all people helping to meet their daily nutritional requirements and food preferences, for an active healthy lifestyle; it should also be easily accessible (World Food Summit, 1996).

From another perspective, at local, regional and international levels, ending poverty, preventing hunger, and improving the nutritional status of people in communities are some of the primary goals for many countries, keeping in focus the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (2015) referred to as the Global Goals established following the success of the Millennium Development Goals.

Food insecurity But, amidst challenges sometimes encountered which may include natural disasters (famines, droughts, hurricanes, etc), political upheavals, wars, and increased in food prices can probably negatively impact health and nutrition status.

Food insecurity can contribute to hunger and associated consequences such as malnutrition, nutrient deficiencies, poor growth and development (affecting physical and mental health), as well as absenteeism and low productivity in schools and the workplace.

Likewise, the American Dietetic Association supports this view; they documented that eliminating food insecurity remain critical and that interventions are necessary; this of course include having sufficient funding for food and nutrition assistance programmes incorporating nutrition education.

These programmes should be innovative and meet the needs of the target population, and supporting individual and economic household self-sufficiency.

“For negative nutrition and non nutrition-related outcomes are associated with children, adolescents, and adults, such as substandard academic achievement, insufficient dietary intakes of main nutrients, poor health, increased potential risk for the development of chronic diseases and poor disease management, as well as poor psychological and cognitive functioning.”

Nutrition security Moreover, the opposite is also quite true, as all individuals have a basic human right to adequate food that is safe and nutritious to improve health and well-being.

Hence, food security contributes to nutrition security positively impacting nutrition status of children and their families, community residents and overall populations.

The pillars of food security include that of –food availability: production, processing, food supply and trade, quantity, quality, and diversity, sustainable productive farming systems; food accessibility –affordable, transport, equitable distribution, location, income, price; food utilisation –processing and storage, utilising nutritious local produce to prepare tasty dishes, food safety, sanitation; and stability which includes availability, access, utilisation.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “for nations to achieve nutrition security, all people must have access to a variety of nutritious foods and potable drinking water; knowledge, resources, and skills for healthy living; prevention, treatment, and care for diseases affecting nutrition status; and safety-net systems during crisis situations, such as natural disasters or deleterious social and political systems.

Adequate nutrient intake is a concern, independent of weight status. In order to achieve nutrition security, lifestyles, policies, and systems (for example food, water, health, energy, education/knowledge, and economic) contributing to sustainable resource use, environmental management, health promotion, economic stability, and positive social environments are required. Registered dietitians, nutritionists, public health educators and other professionals and community workers can get involved in promoting and implementing effective and sustainable policies, systems, programs, and practices that support individual, community, and national efforts.”

Practical approach Meal managers, parents, caregivers, caterers and cafeteria operators should aim to select more local produce from farmers markets and kitchen gardens to be added in the menu; meals prepared and served should be well-balanced. You should always ensure a variety of foods are offered, and that not only staples and foods from animals served, but include peas and beans, fruits, vegetables and grains. Some of these foods can also be use in the preparation of snacks, not only nutritious, but delicious as well.

People should be encouraged to utilise practical approaches in aid of doing his or her part. For example, the services of farmers can be engaged to assist with school and community gardens. Also, dietitians, dietetic technicians, and food demonstrators provide training to community volunteers teaching them how to prepare and preserve the local produce.

You should note that local foods are just as nutritious as foreign produce some persons might select or prefer. The nutrition message is to consume local produce, engage communities in planting short crops and incorporate these on the menu – farm to table approach, and store and preserve the surplus.

Claudette Mitchell, PhD, RD is an Assistant Professor, University of the Southern Caribbean, School of Science, Technology, and Allied Health

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