Usaid/ofda Nutrition Sector Update October 2013

Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is at the forefront of the humanitarian communitys efforts to prevent and treat acute malnutrition. USAID/OFDA-supported programs are community-based, linked to local health systems, and use evidence-based approaches that decrease morbidity and mortality resulting from malnutrition. In addition to supporting infant and young child feeding (IYCF) programs, USAID/OFDA funds nutrition education, initiatives aimed at improving nutrition systems, and operational research to advance best practices and build local capacity to treat acute malnutrition.

Gold star nutrition ratings appear to work, study suggests

They compared data from 134 Hannaford grocery stores in the Northeast against an equal number of similar stores and found that sales of no-star cereals dropped 2.58 percent more at Hannaford stores compared with the control group, while cereals getting one, two or three stars at Hannaford saw modest but measurable gains of 0.5 percent to 1 percent during the first 20 months of the program. “Although the percentages are small, if you think in terms of the actual quantities or boxes of cereal sold in the national market, this could have some important implications on the nation’s health,” said Jordan Lin, an author of the study and scientist at the FDA. Hannaford, consumers and others have touted the rating system as simple and easy to understand. “My daughter, Emily, she’ll count the stars. The more stars, the better the food,” Angela Buck said this week while shopping with her 3-year-old daughter in a Hannaford store in Colonie, N.Y. Besides Guiding Stars, the United Kingdom experimented with a traffic light system that uses the colors red, yellow and green to highlight calories, fat, saturated fats, sugar and salt on labels; the NuVal system ranks food on a scale of one to 100; and Grocery Manufacturers of America and Food Marketing Institute have created a Facts Up Front system. Unlike nutrition labels on the products themselves, these programs aim to put easier-to-understand nutritional information in consumers’ faces, on shelves or in aisles. Some nutrition advocates want the federal government to step in to avoid confusion caused by competing systems. FDA officials said in 2009 that they were working on federal standards for front-of-package calorie labels, but those labels are still in the works. For the study, researchers zeroed in on Hannaford and Guiding Stars because of the availability of the data.

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