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National Governments Should Prioritize Improving Nutrition Policies

Washington Post: It’s World Hunger Day. Here’s why so many people still suffer from malnutrition.
Carmen Jacqueline Ho, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Institute of Development Studies at the University of Guelph

“…[N]ational nutrition policies remain inadequate in many low- and middle-income countries. … [W]hy don’t governments simply prioritize nutrition and introduce better policies? … All too often, effective solutions fail to reach the poor because of misaligned political incentives. The global nutrition community, however, has traditionally focused on generating scientific evidence to combat malnutrition. To be sure, this is important research, and it should continue. But evidence does not automatically make its way into policy. A critical area of research is on the impact of international initiatives on policy change — and when and how governments introduce better policies for poor women and children. To date, 60 countries have signed on to the Scaling Up Nutrition movement. What remains unknown is whether the initiative has been effective in eliciting policy change. … [I]nternational initiatives can improve social policies — but under certain conditions. Understanding these conditions, so that governments improve policies for those who need it the most, is an important step in improving social welfare…” (5/28).