These briefs are part of a series on complementary feeding gaps by GAIN and UNICEF under the Regional Initiatives for Sustained Nutrition and Growth (RISING) project. Identification of nutrient and dietary gaps during the complementary feeding period is essential to inform policies and programmes designed to improve child health and nutrition.
Inadequate physical and economic access is one of the primary barriers to consumption of nutritious complementary foods. However, the extent to which affordability is a barrier for specific nutrients, which foods are the most affordable sources of these nutrients and which households are able to afford them in adequate quantities for young children is unclear.
There is increasing evidence that improved agrobiodiversity (that is, the diversity of crop and livestock genetic resources – domesticated or wild – which contributes to agriculture and food production) can enhance human nutrition through several pathways.
Malnutrition during adolescence can have lifelong consequences. Adolescents undergo rapid biological and socioemotional changes and set lifelong dietary and related habits. Gender norms can leave girls disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, but many adolescent boys are malnourished as well. Adolescent girls are at risk of dropping out of school, marrying, and becoming pregnant - all of which can harm their nutrition and health as well as that of their offspring.
The period 10-19 years of age is one of accelerated growth both physically and psychosocially. Boys and girls during this rapid growth phase have increased nutritional requirements of both macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and micronutrients. This is due to rapid physical growth and the onset of menses in girls and accelerated muscle and bone mass development in boys.
While the first 1,000 days remains a critical period of nutritional need, adolescence the period from 10-19 years of age is characterised by rapid biological and psychosocial growth and development. Up to 45% of skeletal growth takes place and 15 to 25% of adult height is achieved during adolescence.
Making Markets Work (MMW) is a joint programme between GAIN and six leading development agencies which aims to catalyse the power of markets and the private sector to make nutritious and safe foods more available, affordable and desirable. The programme charts new models, approaches and concepts to guide governments, investors and business to equip and shape markets to tackle malnutrition.
Malnutrition is a major problem across many parts of the world, leading to poorer outcomes in infants and children and health problems throughout life, which reduce economic growth and quality of life. Many of the causes of malnutrition have to do with diets, and diets are shaped by the food system.
Through the MNF, GAIN has supported Tarakwo Dairies – an enterprise based in Kenya's Rift Valley – to scale up their supply of safe and affordable milk. Tarakwo's distribution model uses automated milk dispensing machines, or milk ATMs, which help to improve milk availability and safety, while maintaining affordable prices for resource-constrained consumers.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are central to low- and middle-income country (LMIC) food systems and have the potential to increase local accessibility (availability and affordability) of nutritious and safe foods.