UK scientists awarded World Food Prize for malnutrition awareness efforts

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©World Food Prize
©World Food Prize
Two 'nutrition champions', whose work in bringing maternal and child undernutrition to the forefront of dialogue at national and international levels, are awarded this year’s World Food Prize.

Dr's Lawrence Haddad and David Nabarro are recognised for their work with political and business leaders in demonstrating that infant and maternal nutrition is critical to economic health.

Their work has gone someway in reducing the world’s number of stunted children, said to be 10 million between 2012 and 2017.

“Drs Haddad and Nabarro have dedicated their careers to reducing hunger and malnutrition,”​ said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Their work has deepened our understanding of nutrition’s impact not only on individual health, but on human capital and economic growth – compelling leaders in countries across the world to invest in evidence-based solutions.”

Child nutrition firmly on the agenda

The World Food Prize—an award for individuals whose achievements alleviate hunger and promote global food security—includes a €214,000 ($250,000) prize, set to be divided between the winners.

Dr Haddad’s use of economic and medical research to push child nutrition further up the global food security agenda occurred as head of the UK’s Institute of Development Studies (IDS) from 2004 to 2014.

From 2014 to 2016, Dr Haddad drove further investment by co-chairing the Global Nutrition Report, an annual review looking at the world's progress on nutrition.

The transparency and accountability encouraged by the report led to more than 100 stakeholders, who pledged €19.7bn ($23bn) in the fight against malnutrition.

Dr Haddad currently serves as executive director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), where he continues to lead private and public sector partners in improving nutrition outcomes.

“I dedicate this World Food Prize to the leaders, scientists, and activists who are championing the principle that feeding the world is no longer enough—we must now nourish it,” ​Dr Haddad said.

“Good nutrition underpins individual health and national economic development. It reflects respect for human rights and a commitment to future generations. One in three people are malnourished, with no country exempt.

“Undernutrition — whether growth failure or micronutrient malnutrition — is falling too slowly and conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity are skyrocketing with poor diet at the core of these trends,” ​he added.

Dr Nabarro and the SUN Movement

Recognised for his work alongside Dr Haddad, Dr Nabarro has held positions that include head of the UN High Level Task Force on Global Food Security and coordinator of the United Nation’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in 2010 to 2014.

Dr Nabarro’s work has helped unite 54 countries and 1 Indian state under the SUN Movement to implement evidence-based policies and fight child malnutrition in South Asia and Africa.

Many participating countries reported a significant decline in the number of stunted children after adopting SUN guidelines. Dr Nabarro continues to oversee SUN through his service on its advisory Lead Group.

“I am honoured to be one of the two people selected to receive the World Food Prize in 2018,” ​said Dr Nabarro in a personal statement​.

“As I see it, the award is in recognition of work undertaken in the past ten years from my different positions within the United Nations.

“Much of this work has been focused on helping people improve their Food Security and be well-nourished within an interdisciplinary context.

“I am grateful to the opportunities that I was given by successive UN Secretaries General, heads of UN Agencies and their senior staff, as well as government ministers and officials and multiple partners.”

Drs. Haddad and Nabarro will receive the World Food Prize at a ceremony in the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa, on the evening of October 18, 2018.

The event is part of the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, a three-day event that draws over 1,200 people from 50 countries to discuss issues in global food security.

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