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Food Systems for Children and Adolescents: Working Together to Secure Nutritious Diets

Food systems are essential to delivering healthy, affordable and sustainable diets, but the nutritional needs of children and adolescents (both of present and future generations) are often not prioritized. Actors across the food system, including food producers and suppliers, typically do not account for the nutritional needs of children and adolescents when determining what foods to grow, produce, distribute, and sell. Processed, less nutritious foods are skillfully marketed and widely available and affordable, while nutritious foods are often more expensive and unaffordable to many. The food environment often does not lend itself to nutritious diets for children and adolescents, nor is it incentivized to do so. Actors across local, national and global food systems need to be held accountable for providing healthy, affordable and sustainable diets to children and adolescents today and in the future.

To this end, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, co-hosted a global consultation on children, adolescents and food systems at the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti on 5-7 November 2018. The consultation brought together 60 participants from government, development partners, business, and academia from low-, middle- and high-income settings. The consultation aimed to:

The consultation aimed to:

(1)     Develop a common narrative around the need for food systems to produce nutritious, safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable diets for children and adolescents,

(2)     Validate a common approach to elucidate priority actions within the food system to improve diets of children and adolescents, and

(3)     Develop an action plan to improve children and adolescents’ diets using a food systems approach.    

Documents and presentations for download:

Food Systems for Children and Adolescents: Working Together to Secure Nutritious Diets

UNSCN Brief “Non-communicable diseases, diets and nutrition” Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the leading cause of mortality worldwide; they are responsible for 70% of global deaths; equivalent to 40 million people. The health and economic repercussions…
Guidance Note on Integration of Nutrition in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (renamed Cooperation Framework) The purpose of this Guidance Note is to assist United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) with the integration of nutrition into the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework that…
UNSCN Discussion Paper - Schools as a System to Improve Nutrition Given the changing circumstances in the nutrition landscape, there is a need to reassess and reiterate the role of the schools in improving health and nutritional status of children. This discussion…
UNSCN Discussion Paper - Sustainable Diets for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing all nations today leading to not only environmental but also economic and social consequences. It has increased the risk of weather-related…
Guidance Note for UN Humanitarian Coordinators: Integrated multi-sectoral nutrition actions - Nutrition Cluster Integrated multi-sectoral nutrition actions to achieve global and national nutrition-related SDG targets, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected states Reaching the most vulnerable populations…