New Reference Guide On Nutrition Programming

WFP recently announced the release of a condensed reference guide, Programming for Nutrition-Specific Interventions, which aims at strengthening efforts to treat moderate acute malnutrition, prevent chronic and acute malnutrition during the first 1000 days, and at helping define nutrition priorities post-2015.


Programming for Nutrition-Specific Interventions consolidates current evidence and provides an overview of WFP’s updated nutrition programme design.

Saving lives, especially young lives, is a WFP priority, particularly in emergencies. Because of their high nutritional needs and vulnerability, children are at particular risk of stunting and even death when their diet does not meet all their nutrient needs. Poor nutrition for pregnant women contributes to mortality rates and to the intergenerational cycle of undernutrition -- mothers who were stunted as children are also at higher risk of seeing their children die within the first five years of life.

Martin Bloem, senior nutrition advisor, said there was increasing recognition of the importance of addressing stunting and this was reflected in WFP’s programming. “The interesting part about targeting stunting is that there is a double effect—you prevent childhood morbidity and you also prevent the long-term consequences. Investing in proper nutrition now, which costs about US$200 per child for the first two years, will prevent many of the much more expensive costs later in life.”

New Reference Guide

Guide cover of a woman holding her baby in a field

Programming for Nutrition-Specific Interventions.

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The goal of the booklet is to assist in the design of nutrition-specific programmes. But it may also serve as a resource for training or advocacy efforts.  Basic concepts and evidence are presented for programmes to address acute malnutrition, chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. There is also a practical overview of programme design in the context of updated monitoring and evaluation.

WFP’s Nutrition Policy framework has four nutrition-specific pillars: treating moderate acute malnutrition (MAM); preventing acute malnutrition; preventing stunting during the first 1000 days; and addressing micronutrient deficiencies. A fifth pillar is aimed at nutrition-sensitive interventions in programmes such as school feeding, general food distributions and food-for-work or food-for-training, where nutrition is not the primary goal but an important factor.

An essential component of each pillar is WFP's work in partnership with governments, academic partners, NGOs, donors, the private sector and others, to provide technical support, implement programmes, evaluate the impact and translate lessons learned into improved programming.

One third of all child deaths are related to undernutrition, which kills a child every ten seconds. Not only does undernutrition kill, it also prevents children from growing up to live productive lives.
As the global landscape for nutrition action continues to evolve, and the momentum for action and use of innovative ways of addressing undernutrition accelerates, WFP hopes the new guidelines will support joint efforts to address the multiples causes of undernutrition globally.