Nelly Bassily | November 7, 2011
We chose this story because it shows that nutrition is not only about the amount of food consumed, but that variety and quality are very important. Malnutrition is defined as the condition that develops when the body does not get the right amount of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ function. The term is commonly used to refer to children and people who do not have enough to eat, or are undernourished. But people who are over-nourished, or overweight, can also be malnourished if they do not consume enough essential vitamins and minerals. This can be caused by a lack of variety in the diet. Infants, young children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women need larger quantities of some nutrients. They are therefore more susceptible to malnutrition. So, as the story says, avoiding malnutrition is not about eating more, it is about eating better. In many cases, “better” means a more varied diet.
For more facts and information about malnutrition, please visit these sites:
The website of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) also provides useful background information: http://www.gainhealth.org/about-malnutrition
GAIN is part of a partnership called Thousand Days, which promotes investment in improved nutrition for mothers and children in the 1,000 day period from pregnancy to age two. According to the GAIN website, better nutrition during this period can have a life-changing impact on a child: http://www.thousanddays.org/
Read more about the World Food Programme’s activities in DR Congo here: http://www.wfp.org/countries/Congo–Democratic-Republic-Of/Operations
Farm Radio International has produced many scripts on health and nutrition. Browse our archive here: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/health.asp
Here are some recent stories from Farm Radio Weekly related to nutrition:
Zimbabwe: Women grow better lives near the city (FRW 168, August 2011) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/08/15/zimbabwe-women-grow-better-lives-near-the-city-by-zenzele-ndebele-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-zimbabwe/
Mali: Traditional healers join fight against malnutrition (FRW 165, July 2011) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/07/25/mali-traditional-healers-join-fight-against-malnutrition-irin/
Poor nutrition and hunger are all too common in sub-Saharan Africa at any time, especially in rural areas. You might wish to produce a program that covers the basic facts of nutrition and malnutrition, how to recognize and treat symptoms of malnutrition, or how to prevent malnutrition and promote good nutrition. As well as presenting facts, ask women and male farmers what they understand by malnutrition, and try to identify and clarify any misconceptions. Interview health experts or NGOs that work on nutrition and health. You could also explore the links between agriculture and nutrition, such as growing vegetables to diversify diets. It is a huge topic, so be creative!