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News and notes

International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS) Update

The new international journal, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, scheduled to begin publication in early 1987, will publish scientific papers in the areas of methodology for food analysis, food component levels, and the use and processing of food composition data. The editor, Professor Kent Stewart, has announced the following associate editors: Professor George Beaton of the University of Toronto, Canada; Dr. Ricardo Bressani of INCAP, Guatemala; Dr. Osman Galal of the National Nutrition Institute, Egypt; Dr. William Rand of INFOODS and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; Dr. David Southgate of the Agricultural Research Institute, United Kingdom; and Professor Kyoden Yasumoto of Kyoto University, Japan. Inquiries are invited and should be sent to the Editor, Dr. Kent Stewart, at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.

An INFOODS supplement to the Food and Nutrition Bulletin, entitled Food Composition Data: The Users' Perspective, will be published in early autumn and will present the full range of views presented at the Users and Needs Meeting held in March 1985 in Logan, Utah.

Drs. David Southgate and Heather Greenfield are in the final stages of preparing the INFOODS data quality manual: Guidelines for the Production, Management and Use of Food Composition Data Systems. This manual will be available early next year.

Reviews of the INFOODS terminology and nomenclature scheme have been incorporated into a description of the system and distributed to those interested. A coding meeting to review the initial nomenclature manual and explore how the entire scheme works has been tentatively scheduled for next February (1987), under the chairmanship of Professor Stewart Truswell of Australia. In addition, a draft of the component terminology has been developed as a first step toward standardizing these names.

The IUNS Council meeting held in Amsterdam in mid February 1986 recommended that three working groups be organized jointly with INFOODS, paralleling the three INFOODS task forces—Terminology, Data Quality, and Computers in Nutrition. These working groups will provide further international review of the INFOODS activities, and permit wider involvement with and dissemination of the INFOODS efforts.

Upcoming Meetings

EUROFOODS: The next scheduled meeting of EUROFOODS is in Athens, Greece, from 21 to 24 September 1986, under the chairmanship of Dr. Clive West of the Netherlands.

INFOODS: A meeting of the Policy Committee of INFOODS will be held in Budapest from 3 to 6 November 1986 to review the progress that has been made in the last two years and to plan the next two years of INFOODS activities. This gathering includes representatives of the regional FOODS groups and provides an opportunity for planning and co-ordination of cooperative activities.

ASIAFOODS: A technical workshop on food composition as an initial activity towards the development of the ASEAN Food Data Network has been organized for 20-23 October 1986, in Jakarta, Indonesia, under the chairmanship of Dr. Aree Valyasevi. This activity is expected to develop as a nucleus regional activity for the full ASIAFOODS organization.

LATINFOODS: The International Development Research Centre and the United Nations University will jointly sponsor a LATINFOODS meeting from 10 to 13 November 1986, at INCAP in Guatemala, under the chairmanship of Dr. Ricardo Bressani. The purposes of this meeting are to examine the present state and summarize the needs and resources of the Latin American and Caribbean countries in the area of food composition data, and to prepare a plan for an active LATINFOODS.

If you would like additional information concerning INFOODS activities and plans please contact the INFOODS Secretariat, Bldg. 20A-226, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Diet and Health: Scientific Concepts and Principles

A conference entitled "Diet and Health: Scientific Concepts and Principles" will be held on 19-22 October 1986 at the Hotel Alvor Praia in Alvor, Algarve, Portugal. The purpose of the conference is to review the scientific basis of dietary recommendations and the extent to which such recommendations may be quantified.

The programme will consist of an introductory plenary session, which includes background presentations on dietary recommendations, followed by panel sessions on contemporary dietary patterns and health status and on translating dietary recommendations into food selections. The meeting will close with a plenary session on the scientific basis of dietary recommendations. The symposium is targeted towards members of the scientific community from government, academia, and industry, as well as policy makers.

The programme is being sponsored by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). Co-sponsors include the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the Federation of National Nutrition Foundations, the Group of European Nutritionists, the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS), the National Institute of Nutrition (Canada), and the Nutrition Foundation of Italy. For more information contact: Ms. Gretchen Bretsch, International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), 1126 Sixteenth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036, USA (tel. (202) 659-0074).

Notice of Potential Research Project Support for Social Scientists Concerned with Nutrition and Health

In the biennium 1986-1987, the United Nations University and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) are undertaking a multi-centred research project that will involve anthropologists and other social scientists in developing countries who are prepared to use anthropological techniques.

The research is concerned with the influence of nutrition and primary health-care activities on health-seeking behaviours at the household level and the behaviours of the health-care providers within the context of nutrition and primary health-care programmes.

Suitably qualified investigators may write for further information to the Development Studies Division of the United Nations University, Toho Seimei Building, 15-1 Shibuya 2-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150, Japan.

Book Reviews

The Quantity and Quality of Breast Milk. Report on the WHO Collaborative Study on Breast-feeding. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1985.148 pp.

The first phase of the WHO study of breast-feeding dealt with the prevalence and duration of breast-feeding and these studies were published in 1981 in Contemporary Patterns of Breast-feeding. The results of the second phase, dealing with the volume and composition of breast milk, have now been published in this volume. The collaborating centres were located in Guatemala, Hungary, the Philippines, Sweden, and Zaire. The results of this phase support the impression that mothers in developing countries tend to produce less milk than those in industrialized countries, but these differences do not affect the composition of the milk.

In all study groups, breast-milk volume was found to increase with the number of feeds but was not correlated with any of the maternal characteristics noted. Even dietary supplements did not appear to influence breast-milk volume Children assessed as having above-average nutritional status had milk intakes significantly greater than those recorded as below average. In general, composition of breast milk was highest at one month, fell up to three to six months, and fluctuated with no pattern thereafter, but there was no clear variation in other nutrients. Variations in composition did not correlate with either the mothers' or children's characteristics. One of the most significant conclusions of the study is that in addition to the maintenance and promotion of breast-feeding, some resources should be devoted to supplement the diet of breast-fed babies with foods prepared from locally available products. Many nutritionists, publishers, and health workers will be interested in the full report, which can be obtained directly from WHO or national sources of WHO publications.

Nutritional Surveillance. By J. Mason, J. P. Habicht, H. Tabatabai, and V. Valverde. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1984.194 pp.

Because the margin between adequate nutrition and moderate to severe malnutrition is so narrow and subject to environmental variations, programmes that will monitor the nutritional status of the population and/or warn of impending food shortages are vital. This small WHO monograph examines the role of nutritional surveillance, guidance for priorities, and considerations for evaluation.

The paper also covers timely warning and intervention programmes that differ from surveillance in organization and data requirements. The book is designed primarily to meet the needs of those directly involved in planning and evaluating measures to improve nutrition and will be very useful for this purpose. It will also be of more general value for those interested in different uses for the surveillance information collected.

The Role of the Health Sector in Food and Nutrition. Report of a WHO Expert Committee. Technical Report Series, 667. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1985.90 pp.

While nutrition is a responsibility of primary health-care programmes, socio-economic factors are so significant cause of malnutrition that in addition to nutritionists and health workers, sociologists, economists, developmental planners, and persons from many other sectors of society must also be involved in its prevention. A multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral approach to the problems of nutrition within a country's socio-economic development effort is necessary to solve the problem. Those who are currently malnourished must be dealt with by the health sector.

The ways in which primary health-care strategies provide a range of opportunities for nutrition initiatives are discussed. Besides improving dietary practices, the health sector must also reduce other factors involved in malnutrition such as infections and parasitic diseases, diarrhoeal disease and short birth intervals. It is also emphasized that the health sector has the responsibility for advocating co-ordinated multi-sectoral food and nutrition strategies and providing the required information on malnutrition problems and their consequences. This short WHO report provides general guidance on the role of the health sector in food and nutrition.

Measuring Change in Nutritional Status. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1983. 40 pp. plus 51 pp. of appendices.

This is a very useful book for field nutritionists who need to measure the effects of supplementary feeding programmes. The methods have been chosen for their operational feasibility where resources of all kinds are limited; they are the simplest methods that will allow an evaluator to detect changes in the nutritional status of children, and hence to determine the effectiveness of a feeding programme.

The only anthropometric data called for are those on age, height, and weight, to be derived from simple indicators: weight-for-age, height-for-age, and weight-for-height, which can be compared with the normal range of an international reference population described in tables that make up the last 50 pages of the book. The methods proposed are based on extensive field testing in many countries and will be useful for their intended specific purpose, which is the identification of nutritional change, or lack of it, in population groups receiving supplementary feeding.

The Treatment and Management of Severe Protein-energy Malnutrition. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1981.

This 45-page manual offers simple guidelines for the treatment of severe protein-energy malnutrition, intended for middle-level health personnel. If followed, the guidelines will greatly reduce mortality from severe PEM.

Improving the Nutritional Status of Children during the Weaning Period. Edited by K. Mitzner, N. S. Scrimshaw, and R. Morgan. MIT Graphic Arts Service, Cambridge, Mass., USA, 1984.

This publication provides current state-of-the-art information on weaning food programmes in the developing world. it promotes three kinds of weaning food strategies: the preparation of foods in the home and village; indigenous commercial processing and packaging of weaning foods; and the use of food aid and subsidized feeding programmes as temporary measures that can play a role in initiating and supporting the other two strategies. The strategies in most cases have been tailored to specific countries and are still largely experimental in nature. This manual, which is the first of its kind, is much needed, and complements the excellent volume by Margaret Cameron and Yngve Hofvander, Manual on Feeding Infants and Young Children (United Nations), which focuses on physiological and clinical processes, the chemical properties of foods, and child-feeding practices.

Improving the Nutritional Status of Children during the Weaning Period is available free of charge from USDA/OICD, Room 4300-2, Auditors Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250, USA.

Drug-induced Nutritional Deficiencies. 2nd ed. By Daphne A. Roe, M.D., Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. AVI, 250 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06881, USA. 325 pp. $37.50.

This book provides new information on drug-nutrient interactions, with major revisions covering recent findings pertaining to vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin K. Other chapters have been completely rewritten, including those on drug-induced malabsorption, antivitamins, nutritional effects of anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives, and antituberculous drugs. An entirely new chapter discusses the adverse nutritional effects of cancer chemo-therapeutic agents.

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