Implementing Nutrition-Sensitive Development: Reaching Consensus

November 1, 2012

The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is an unprecedented, multi-stakeholder global effort to improve maternal and child nutrition. Both the 2008 Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition and SUN Framework for Action underscore the importance of both nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions.

Thanks to a large evidence base, nutrition-specific interventions are well-defined. They include treating acute malnutrition, increasing micronutrient intake, and promoting exclusive breastfeeding, addressing the immediate causes of undernutrition.

Nutrition-sensitive development addresses the underlying factors that contribute to malnutrition — including hunger, poverty, gender inequality, and poor access to safe water and health services — by integrating nutrition actions into other sectors. Unlike nutrition-specific interventions, nutrition-sensitive development lacks a common definition, which is needed for aligning efforts and measuring impact. More research and documentation of proven approaches to integrating nutrition-sensitive actions into multisectoral programs will build the evidence base.

This policy brief seeks to contribute to a wider conversation that we hope will lead to some consensus.

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