Last week, from October 21 to 26, the XX Latin American Congress of Nutrition of the Latin American Society of Nutrition took place in Cuenca, Ecuador. The theme of the event was Sustainable and Inclusive Nutrition: A Multidisciplinary Health Challenge and was supported by the World Food Programme (WFP), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), as well as FAO and UNICEF.
The WFP Centre of Excellence Against Hunger in Brazil was represented by nutritionist and project coordinator Eliene Sousa and also supported the participation of the Department of Education of the Federal District, which presented its experience at the roundtable, shared with representatives of the WFP regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean, the WFP country office in Ecuador and the government of Cuba. The theme of the session was Sustainable Food Systems Models in School Feeding and the opportunities and challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean. There were several successful experiences shared and the Brazilian representative highlighted the evolution of the School Feeding Programme at the Federal District in the last 14 years.
“The School Feeding Program at the Federal District serves 520 thousand students, with an average of 505 thousand meals served per day, and among the 59 foods offered on the menus, only two are ultra-processed, and it is expected that, in 2024, only one product will be ultra-processed,” said Shirley Diogo, Analyst at the Education Secretariat of the Federal District.
The convergence of the norms that guide public policies in favour of healthy eating is extremely important, since, in 2014, the Ministry of Health launched the Food Guide for the Brazilian population with innovative concepts on the degree of food processing. In this scenario, there was a need to align the rules of the School Feeding Programme with the Food Guide.
During the event, nutritionists from Latin America and the Caribbean and United Nations agencies discussed topics such as migration, causing alarming levels of malnutrition, especially among children, and the influence of emergencies on the increase in malnutrition in the region. The consumption of ultra-processed foods was also highlighted, which has caused an increase in chronic non-communicable diseases and health costs related to the treatment of these diseases.
Finally, civil society organizations, health institutions, and universities from Latin American and Caribbean countries signed the regional chapter of the Global Alliance for Healthy Eating for Girls, Boys, and Adolescents, whose main purpose is to prevent malnutrition in all its manifestations. The document brings together 10 recommendations and proposes their implementation in the countries of the region.
The WFP Centre of Excellence Against Hunger has been discussing actions to tackle the multiple burden of malnutrition together with the Ministries of Health of Brazil, Colombia and Peru, especially childhood overweight and obesity. Learn a little more about the Nurture the Future Project here.