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Are research priorities in Latin America in line with the nutritional problems of the population?

  • Adolfo Llanos (a1) (a2), María Teresa Oyarzún (a1), Anabelle Bonvecchio (a3), Juan A Rivera (a3) and Ricardo Uauy (a1) (a4)...

Abstract

Objective

Concordance of nutritional research priorities with the related burden of disease is essential to develop cost-effective interventions to address the nutritional problems of populations. The present study aimed to evaluate whether nutrition research priorities are in agreement with the population’s nutritional problems in Latin America.

Design

The epidemiological profile was contrasted with the research priorities and research produced by academic institutions for each country. Qualitative analysis of research production by type of contribution to problem solving was also conducted.

Settings

Nine Latin American countries.

Results

Obesity (high body mass index (BMI)) and micronutrient deficiencies (anaemia) emerged as key problems, followed by stunting, breast-feeding/lactation and low birth weight. Wasting in children and women (low BMI) was uncommon. Concordance of ranked research priorities with the epidemiological profile of the country was generally good for nutrition-related chronic diseases, micronutrients and low birth weight, but not for undernutrition, stunting and breast-feeding. Studies on the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions were uncommon.

Conclusions

The present research agenda insufficiently supports the goal of public health nutrition, which is to ensure the implementation of cost-effective nutrition programmes and policies. A more rational approach to define research priorities is needed.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email adolfo_llanos@pediatrix.com

References

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1 Global Forum for Health Research (GFHR). 10/90 Report on Health Research 2003–2004. Report No. 4. Geneva: GFRH, 10 May 2004.
2 World Health Organization (WHO). Macroeconomics and Health: Investing in Health for Economic Development.Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health. Geneva: WHO, 2001.
3 Bloom, BR, Michaud, CM, La Montagne, JR, Simonsen, L. Priorities for global research and development of interventions. In: Jamison, DT, Breman, JG, Measham, AR, Alleyne, G, Claeson, M, Evans, DB, et al. , eds. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: The World Bank and Oxford University Press, 2006; 103118.
4 Freire, WB, ed. Nutrition and an Active Life: From Knowledge to Action. Scientific and Technical Publication No. 612. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization, 2005.
5 World Health Organization (WHO). Report of the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Technical Report Series No. 916. Geneva: WHO, 2003.
6 Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative. The 10/90 Report on Health Research 2001–2002. Geneva: Global Forum for Health Research, 2006; 181187.
7 Mendez, MA, Monteiro, CA, Popkin, BM. Overweight exceeds underweight among women in most developing countries. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005; 81 (3): 714721.
8 Victora, C, Albernaz, E, Lutter, C. The role of research in the formulation of infant feeding. In: Freire, WB, ed. Nutrition and an Active Life: From Knowledge to Action. Scientific and Technical Publication No. 612. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization, 2005; 2132.
9 Institution Building for Research and Advanced Training in Food and Nutrition in Developing Countries, based on a Workshop held by the United Nations University and the International Union of Nutritional Sciences in Manila, Philippines, 18–23 August 1996 [special issue]. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 1997; 18(2).
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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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