New Tool Aims To Improve Diets, Prevent Child Malnutrition In Guatemala

In a post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” published as part of “a series to coincide with ‘A Promise Renewed in the Americas: Reducing Inequalities in Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health Summit’ [being held] September 10-12 in Panama,” Monica Woldt, a senior advisor for maternal and child health and nutrition at FHI 360, and Gilles Bergeron, deputy director of country programs for FHI 360’s Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III (FANTA) project, examine a new tool that aims to improve diets and prevent child malnutrition in Guatemala, “where about half of the children under five years of age are stunted (too short for their age — a sign of long-term deficits in the quantity and/or quality of food, including the right vitamins and minerals).” They write, “Optifood is a computer software program, developed by the [WHO] in collaboration with the [FANTA project], and Blue Infinity, that provides scientific evidence on how to best improve children’s diets at the lowest possible cost using locally available foods,” noting, “Optifood identifies nutrient gaps and suggests food combinations the local diet can fill — or come as close to filling. It also helps identify local foods’ limits in meeting nutrient needs and test strategies for filling remaining nutrient gaps, such as using fortified foods or micronutrient powders that mothers mix into infant or young children’s porridge” (9/11).