Malnutrition, including both under and over-nutrition, and disease prevention are universal concepts that the international nutrition community must address. To do this, international dietitians-nutritionists must work together to build capacity; develop new and advanced skills for assessment, diagnosis, and intervention; and conduct nutrition and dietetic specific research.
A new goal with corresponding strategies has been added to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Strategic Plan: “Members collaborate across disciplines with international food and nutrition communities”. This goal recognizes the need for working within existing structures in individual countries and for collaboration between organizations to ensure nutrition needs are met worldwide. One strategy includes a relationship with nutrition professionals from the National Health Institute and the United States Agency for International Development, where projects in Africa on HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and micronutrients have been initiated. Work in Africa to understand Healthcare infrastructure and resource needs began in August of 2013.
An article “Spotlight on Global Malnutrition: A Continuing Challenge in the 21st Century”, recently published in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, detailed a forum consisting of nutrition and dietetics professionals from seven different countries around the world. This forum (Linking Nutrition around the World) brought together dietetics leaders from various developing and emerging countries where the majority of the population was estimated to be undernourished, where poor nutrition severely impacts mortality and disability rates, and where the number of health professionals trained in dietetics was extremely low. This conference established the groundwork for future discussions, collaborations, and an in-depth understanding of the current international environment in order to align solutions more effectively.
Further discussions occurred in October 2015 subsequent to the Annual European Federation of Associations of Dietitians (EFAD) Conference in Amsterdam. This Global Nutrition Forum was brought about as a preliminary response to the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition outcome document and framework for action. Key dietetic associations, such as: the Academy, EFAD, International Confederation of Dietetic Associations (ICDA), World Health Organization (WHO), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations are being called upon to construct the global collaborative force necessary to significantly reduce malnutrition and improve nutritional health.