By Muhammad Auwal
The World-renowned Global Nutrition Report has announced the appointment of Dr Renata Micha and M.G. Ventakesh Mannar as its new Co-Chairs.
Dr Micha is a Research Associate Professor at Tufts University, and a trained clinical dietitian, public health nutritionist, and epidemiologist. While Mannar is an Adjunct Professor at Cornell University, he has a strong academic record in Nutrition.
He is a leading expert in technology to tackle micronutrient deficiencies and held the position of President of the Micronutrient Initiative in Canada for 20 years until 2014.
In their roles, the new Co-Chairs will lead the Global Nutrition Report, ensuring the publication continues to be a go-to resource for NGOs, governments, business, civil society organisations and those wanting the latest evidence on the status of malnutrition around the world.
“As the last report found, malnutrition remains unacceptably high in every country in the world, costing billions of dollars a year, and immediate action must be taken by all stakeholders to reduce this burden.”
Health Reporters leant that the Co-Chairs appointments come at an important time for the nutrition community.
They take over the report ahead of the Nutrition for Growth 2020 Summit in Japan, key players will come together to agree a new set of commitments to drive global efforts for eradicating malnutrition in every country.
Speaking on her appointment, Dr Micha said: “Poor diet quality is the leading cause of death, suffering, and disparities worldwide. This includes major impacts of both food insecurity and undernutrition, and of diet-related obesity and Non-communicable Chronic Diseases (NCDs), the ‘double burden.’
“A high-quality diet is critical to prevent micronutrient deficiencies and ensure optimal maternal health, child development, and reduced risk of obesity and NCDs.”
According to her, the global nutrition crisis the world is facing also has environmental implications that need to be addressed.
“A unified front among governments, policy makers, the food industry and other key stakeholders is required to reverse worrying trends in the status of global malnutrition and to safeguard our health and our planet.
“As a Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report, my priority will be to highlight poor diet as the leading cause of poor health worldwide and make it central to the Sustainable Development Goals,” she added.
M.G. Ventakesh Mannar’s specialist expertise in the use of technology to enhance the nutritional quality of foods has led, among other things, to directly tackling micro nutrition deficiencies in children.
“Based on meticulous research and analysis by leading experts, the Global Nutrition Report helps to connect the dots and determine what should be done to catalyze action and ensure impact. It provides a snapshot of overarching issues, progress made and problems that persist. It is proactive in offering solutions and a way forward to guide decision makers.”
He added that the report should form the backdrop for the Nutrition for Growth 2020 Summit in Japan, elevating visibility and commitment by all sectors and creating the enabling environment for individuals to assume ownership in making positive changes in their diets and lifestyles.
Health Reporters gathered that Dr Renata and Venkatesh bring to the Global Nutrition Report deep and complementary nutrition expertise, experience in leading teams, and a history of working with diverse stakeholders.