Ali Dhansay, MD; FCPaed
IUNS Council Member; Honorary Research Associate; Extraordinary Professor, External Lecturer.
IUNS & Burden of Disease Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council; Division of Human Nutrition, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
The mission and associated objectives of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) are: 1) To promote advancement in nutrition science, research and development through international cooperation at the global level and 2) To encourage communication and collaboration among nutrition scientists as well as to disseminate information in nutritional sciences through modern communication technologies. IUNS features contemporary global nutrition issues, such as the nature and determinants of child development and their implications for programmatic interventions in young children with malnutrition and the Global Challenge of human nutrition in Health and Disease. IUNS Challenges also embraces a global nutrition agenda to address Food and nutrition problems in developing countries and Capacity building for nutritionists. In this context, IUNS Actions Points are: Attention to Adhering Bodies and Affiliated Societies, Education and Online courses and Competence development, regulation of conflicts of interest including Private Sector relationships in the nutrition arena and task force implementation. Current IUNS task forces are focused in three main areas: Planetary Malnutrition (hidden micronutrient undernutrition, obesity/chronic nutritionally related epidemics, child growth), personalized nutrition with public health nutritional perspectives (traditional/indigenous foods, sustainable and precision nutrition, nutrition in cancer, role of fats and capacity building approaches (web documents, online courses, leadership programs, scholarships, re-entry-grants,…..). Diverse cooperation schemes with important journals and editorials in the Nutrition Arena with Food and Health scopes are currently in operation as endeavors to promote the IUNS vision and international visibility.
This specific session to be presented discusses the diverse IUNS activities and highlights specific examples of capacity building, the role of traditional and ethnic foods, and engaging policy makers. The value of good nutrition as a fundamental aspect of human life should be emphasized through capacity building of future generations with timely and effective exposure to qualified education of young scientists. Current IUNS approaches to capacity building to improve nutrition will be discussed. An IUNS task force on Traditional and Ethnic Foods used over several centuries was established to deepen the understanding of such holistic approaches for achieving health through nutrition while addressing adaptation to changing lifestyles. There is an urgent need for more skilled nutritionists in this area, along with virtual training to increase skills capacity. High-dose vitamin A supplementation (VAS) for under-fives was introduced globally, as a short-term measure, to address vitamin A deficiency and improve child survival but has not been phased out. Efforts to improve coverage are strongly encouraged however the role of VAS is being reviewed globally. The experience of engaging policymakers in evidence-based recommendations for cessation/modification of VAS in a South African province will be presented.
Summing up, IUNS is focused on advancing nutrition science globally and encourages communication and collaborative efforts to achieve this endeavour in the scientific community and in society , through strong support for developing capacity, knowledge and skills of nutrition scientists and for the IUNS Task Forces that address emerging planetary nutritional key issues. Some of these goals are achieved because IUNS congregates 82 adhering bodies and 18 affiliated organizations, which gather every 4 years at ICN-IUNS congresses. The 22nd ICN-IUNS Congress will be held in Japan (14-19 September 2021).
This session’s presentations will be available on Tuesday, June 2 at 9:30 AM EDT. View these presentations at any time after their release.