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.
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.
Nine Latin American countries.
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.
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.