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News and notes

INFOODS and INFID activities*


INFOODS, the UNU-sponsored International Network of Food Data Systems project, continues to develop and expand. Additional regional groups have been organized and have held meetings. The project's initial technical tasks have been completed and await publication and implementation.

With the completion of tasks of direct interest to the US National Cancer Institute, funding from this source has ceased. Since these funds also helped to support the INFOODS secretariat as well as a number of technical activities and meetings, additional support is being sought to replace this loss.

A number of INFOODS publications have been completed in preliminary form and are nearing official publication. These include the second complete edition of the International Directory of Food Composition Tables, published and distributed in September. Identification of Food Components for INFOODS Data Interchange, which provides an improved system for precisely identifying nutrients, is in final typeset form and should be submitted for publication within the next few weeks. The INFOODS Data Interchange Handbook has been written from a number of working documents that describe the interchange model and its operation. A final draft is being prepared for a last round of external review. Guidelines for the Production, Management, and Use of Food Composition Data (Greenfield and Southgate) is undergoing final review and revision and should be published this year. Compiling Data for Food Composition Data Bases, which describes methods for handling "missing values" in food composition tables, is now in the final stages of preparation for publication.

The design of the INFOODS interchange scheme is now complete and documented. Likewise, the design for regional centres is completed, and regional centres can be established promptly whenever they can obtain the necessary funding. It is estimated that the establishment of a functioning regional data centre and installation of a regional data base will require approximately US$100,000. with annual maintenance and servicing of national data bases requiring a minimum of about half that amount.

The regional organizations continue to grow and are rapidly becoming vital partners with INFOODS. The first AFROFOODS meeting was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, as part of the third Africa Food and Nutrition Congress in September 1988. The second meeting of LATIN FOODS took place in Santiago, Chile, in November 1988. An organizational meeting of MENAFOODS (for the Middle East and North Africa) is planned for later this year if funds can be obtained. OCEANIA FOODS held its organizational meeting in June 1988. The next EUROFOODS meeting is scheduled for June 1989.

The INFOODS secretariat continues to receive frequent inquiries about data availability and sources of information and to handle requests for information and for publications. INFOODS continues to seek information about new national tables; databases are still being solicited; and the database underlying the International Directory of Food Composition Tables is being maintained as new information arrives. A new edition will be available later this year.

Publication of the INFOODS Newsletter has been delayed by work on the final report for the National Cancer Institute contract. A new issue is now under preparation. A meeting of the INFOODS policy committee is overdue, and funds are being sought to hold one in the current year. A workshop on INFOODS will be held at the International Nutrition Congress in Seoul, Korea, in August 1989.


The objective of INFID, the UNU-sponsored International Food Intake Directory project, is to provide epidemiologists and nutritionists with the best available data on dietary intakes for most of the countries for which adequate morbidity and mortality data are available. When these data are combined with the most appropriate food composition data as identified by INFOODS, epidemiologists will be in a much better position to determine the relationships between diet and chronic disease by comparing disease incidence in national populations with different diet habits. This should replace the misuse of FAO food balance-sheet data for this purpose.

During its first year INFID has completed on annotated directory of food intake data over the last 40 years for eight developing countries and is in various stages of obtaining data from an additional sixteenth countries. Two countries have already published their national INFID summaries for local use. Like INFOODS, this project will eventually cover nearly all of the countries in the world.

Nutrition in the metropolitan areas of Latin America

Summary of a workshop and round-table discussion at the 8th Congress of the Latin American Society of Nutrition.

The investigation of nutrition and health in metropolitan areas was the subject of a pre-conference workshop held in conjunction with the 8th Congress of the Latin American Society of Nutrition and of a round table discussion during the Congress. Urbanization has developed rapidly in the Third World countries of Latin America. The aim of the workshop was to identify the level of the present knowledge of the nutritional situation of the urban population and of nutritional interventions. Possible gaps in nutritional diagnosis and operational research should be an incentive for research in these fields.

The Congress, which met 5 and 6 November 1988 in Vina del Mar, Chile, was attended by 40 scientists from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. The participants were mainly nutritionists and physicians, but sociologists, psychologists, and social workers were also present. On the first day, the participants discussed the nutritional status of the urban population of metropolitan areas in their countries and presented the results of the interventions. In plenary sessions and group discussions a problem analysis was developed to identify future areas of research.

The results of the workshop and some special topics on urban nutrition were presented at the round-table discussion during the Congress.

The points discussed and conclusions reached included the following:

1. The metropolitan area is characterized by very high heterogeneity and complexity. Some phenomena are common, while others differ from city to city. These phenomena are not predictable and, therefore, must be studied separately in each of the metropolitan areas.

2. The principal conditional factors of nutritional problems such as social, economic, ecological, and institutional factors were discussed in detail.

3. Some presentations gave particular emphasis to specific risk factors in mother-child health such as low birth weight, low family income, a high number of family members, and a lack of school education among mothers.

4. Criteria of nutritional classification were discussed, considering specifically the selection of the cut-off point of the anthropometric indicators. It was concluded that the selection must be made according to the relationship to functional indicators and the possibilities of interventions.

5. The magnitude of the nutritional problem within the mother-child group was analysed with regard to some specific nutrient deficiencies, such as of iron and vitamin A. There are indications that with the expansion of the use of milk in food supplementation programmes and the reduction of traditional food sources such as legumes in the urban area, the prevalence of hypovitaminosis A has decreased but the prevalence of anaemia has increased. However, the supply of vitamin A is subject to major daily fluctuations.

6. It is extremely difficult to measure family income, since family members are unwilling or unable to give precise information. It is, therefore, necessary to develop other economic indicators.

7. Furthermore, there are difficulties in measuring the status of family and communal organizations. Simple indicators with high specificity and sensitivity must be developed.

8. Some information was presented as to the relationships between sanitation, infections, and nutritional status.

9. Several studies were dedicated to different programmes of nutritional intervention, most of them demonstrating the positive effect of food programmes on nutritional status. Some of the strategies utilized were geared to an improved food supply, better food quality, and the use of foster families for the nutritional recuperation of malnourished children. In general, it has been observed that the more factors added throughout an intervention programme, the higher the rate of success of the intervention-in particular, the sustainability.

10. In addition to the important nutritional risk group of the mother-child population, more knowledge is needed about other possible risk groups in urban areas, such as adolescents, adults, and the elderly.

11. There is a coexistence of nutritional problems of rich and poor societies within the urban area. Within families, too, the phenomena of problems of over nutrition and undernutrition can be observed. These facts have to be taken into consideration when planning intervention programmes.

12. The advantages and disadvantages of both vertical and horizontal planning were discussed. It was concluded that, in order to ensure the success of intervention programmes, the participation of the population should be emphasized.

13. There is a great necessity for a nutritional surveillance system that will provide permanent evaluations of the nutritional situation and the effectiveness of interventions. Such information systems need to be established by both vertical and horizontal planing.

14. Operational research must be stimulated more in urban areas.

15. Research programmes should not only be geared to problem families and communities but be complemented by "positive deviations," i.e. Iearning from low-income families how they manage to ensure normal biological and psychological development of their children.

16. There is general agreement that the analysis and solution of nutritional problems in urban areas requires an interdisciplinary approach.

17. It was recommended that a second Latin American workshop on nutrition and health in metropolitan areas should be held, with the integration of other professionals, such as urbanists, economists, ecologists, sociologists, and psychologists.

It is planned that the presentations and the results of the working groups of the workshop and the round table discussion should be published as a second volume of the proceedings of the 8th Congress of the Latin American Society of Nutrition in mid-1989.

Lactancia materna

El Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales del Cerebro de la Academia de Ciencias de Cuba, el Instituto de Nutrición e Higiene de los Alimentos, el De partamento Maternoinfantil del Ministerio de Salud Pública, la Federación de Mujeres Cubanas, los Comités de Defensa de la Revolución y la Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequenos organizaron un taller sobre lactancia materna los días 17 y 18 de diciembre del ano 1987 que recién concluyó, con el propósito de contribuir a la promoción de ésta en nuestro medio. Los trabajos presentados evidenciaron que aún existen dificultades tanto conceptuales como organizativas que impiden la generación de esta práctica. A pesar de que la lactancia materna es el método óptimo de alimentación del nino en los primeros meses de vida, se observa una tendencia a su disminución. Entre las causas que influyen en la declinación de la lactancia materna se reconocieron:

-Falta de preparación de la mujer para la maternidad y la alimentación infantil.
-Dificultad inicial para lactar, acrecentada a veces por defectos anatómicos de las mamas, que no son corregidos a tiempo por el obstetra.
-Deficientes conocimientos de los médicos acerca de la lactancia materna, la cual interrumpen fácilmente ante el más mínimo inconveniente o por simple complacencia.
-Demora en la primera toma, ocasionada por estadía innecesaria del recién nacido en el cunero.
-Creencias erróneas de la población acerca de la calidad de la leche materna, en comparación con la leche de vaca y otros alimentos para el bebé.

Se destacó en el taller de trabajo que se realiza en el Hospital Ginecoobstétrico de Güines, dirigido por la doctora Ada Ovies y que constituye un esquema variable que puede servir de base para la promoción de la lactancia materna. El taller aprobó las siguientes recomendaciones:

-Iniciar en 1988, la investigación nacional para conocer la frecuencia y duración de la lactancia materna.
-Realizar estudios sobre los factores biológicos y sociales que influyen en la lactancia materna.
-Crear una comisión nacional multisectorial para la promoción de la lactancia materna.
-Realizar talleres de actualización e intercambio de experiencias, sobre la lactancia materna en los niveles provincial y nacional.
-Dar énfasis a la necesidad del examen de mamas de manera sistemática en la atención prenatal, así como cuando las madres dicen no tener leche.
-Propiciar la alimentación materna precoz del recién nacido que le permita ponerlo al pecho de la madre inmediatamente después del parto.
-Hacer que la madre y el recién nacido vayan juntos al puerperio en todos los hospitales obstétricos; evitar su separación.
-Evitar el uso innecesario del biberón.
-Fomentar la "lactancia solidaria" en aquellos casos en que la madre no pueda, en el primer momento, lactar a su hijo.
-Lograr el incremento de la estadía posparto, para favorecer la lactancia materna.
-Evitar la introducción de la lactancia mixta, por ser un factor del fracaso de la lactancia natural.
-Establecer medidas organizativas eficientes, para garantizar que los sucedáneos de la leche materna se usen solamente en los casos imprescindibles.
-Analizar y discutir en los cambios de guardia de los hospitales ginecoobstétricos y hospitales con servicio de obstetricia, aquellos casos de recién nacidos que no reciben leche materna, e indagar las causas que lo han motivado.
-Incrementar la reinducción de la lactancia materna en todos los niveles de atención, cuando ésta se produzca por una causa no justificada.
-Incluir en los juegos infantiles, actividades que vayan inclinando a la nina (futura madre) hacia la alimentación al pecho de sus hijos. Deberá evitarse en los juegos con munecas la presencia de biberones.
-Hacer que las publicaciones sobre lactancia natural estén avaladas científicamente.
-Suprimir el nombre de "leche maternizada" y usar en su lugar el de "leche modificada", aunque se aclarará en la etiqueta que este producto no es en realidad un sustituto completo de la leche materna. Incrementar las actividades de educación para la salud, en relación con la lactancia materna, para hacerla más ágil, más activa, emotiva, con carácter sistemático, dirigida sobre todo a las mujeres jóvenes y a los padres, así como también a los círculos infantiles y a las escuelas primarias y secundarias.
-Utilizar adecuadamente, para la promoción de la lactancia materna entre los adolescentes, las posibilidades de las organizaciones políticas y estudiantiles en las escuelas secundarias básicas, preuniversitarios, tecnológicos y universidades, así como los clubes juveniles que se forman en los consultorios de los médicos de la familia.
-Dar énfasis a la lactancia materna como parte del seguimiento que se realiza en el nivel de atención primaria de salud.
-Utilizar en la promoción de lactancia materna, un dibujo animado, cuyo personaje central sea símbolo do ésta.
-Propiciar la participación activa del personal de salud en las reuniones o audiencias.
-Reforzar lo concerniente a la lactancia materna en los programas de forrnación y de educación continuada del

Courses on food and nutrition in developing countries

Two international courses dealing with food and nutrition in developing countries are scheduled to be held at the International Agricultural Centre, Wageningen, Netherlands.

The first course, entitled "Managing Food and Nutrition in Primary Health Care," is specifically targeted for personnel involved in programming and implementing activities to increase food production, access, and consumption of households as a necessary condition for better health and nutritional status. This course will be held in the fall of 1989.

The second course, with the theme "Food and Nutrition for Community Health and Development," has proved to be of high interest to officers involved in training, intervention, and research on nutritional problems of vulnerable groups in developing countries. This course is planned for early 1990.

It is expected that the majority of the participants in both courses will be financially supported by their governments, their employers, or national or international organizations granting fellowships.

Candidates applying for a fellowship should bear in mind that official procedures usually take several months. It is, therefore, advisable to submit an early request to the fellowship-granting organization concerned, in order to enable this organization to send the application to the International Agricultural Centre before the closing date for applications.

For information about these courses, write the International Agricultural Centre, Lawickse Allee 11, P.O. Box 88.6700 AB Wageningen, Netherlands.

Note for contributors

The editors of the Food and Nutrition Bulletin welcome contributions of relevance to its concerns (see the statement of editorial policy on the inside of the front cover). Submission of an article does not guarantee publication-which depends on the judgement of the editors as to its relevance,and quality. Contributors should review recent issues of the Bulletin for content and style.

Language. Contributions may be in English, French, or Spanish. If French or Spanish is used, the author should submit an abstract in English if possible.

Format. Contributions should be typed, double spaced, with ample margins.

Length. Ordinarily contributions should not exceed 4,000 words.

Tables and figures. Any tables and figures should be on separate sheets of paper. Figures should be clearly and accurately drawn and clearly labelled.

Photographs. Ideally photographic materials should be submitted in the form of black and white negatives or black and white glossy prints. Photographs will not be returned unless a specific request is made.

Units of measurement. Preferably measurements should be expressed in metric units. If other units are used, their metric equivalents should be indicated.

References. References should be listed at the end of the article, numbered in the order of their appearance in the article, also double-spaced. A reference to a book or other separately published work should include full indication of the name(s) of the author(s), title of the work, and publisher and place and year of publication. A reference to an article in a book should include the name(s3 of the author(s) of the article, title of the article, editor(s) of the book and title of the book, publisher and place and year of publication, and the page numbers of the article. A reference to an article in a journal should include the author(s), title of the article, name of journal, volume and issue number and date, and page numbers of the article. Unpublished material should not be listed in the references.

Identification. Contributors should give their full name and official affiliation. If the material in the article has been previously presented or is planned to be published elsewhere-in the same or modified form-a note should be included giving the details.

Manuscript copies. The contributor should keep a duplicate copy of the manuscript. Manuscripts will not be returned unless specifically requested.

Contributions should be addressed to:

The Editor Food and Nutrition Bulletin 9 Bow Street Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Note a l'intention des auteurs

La rédaction du Food and Nutrition Bulletin recherche des articles traitant de sujets correspondant a ses themes (voir au vérso de la couverture la politique éditoriale de cette revue). La remise d'un manuscrit ne signifie pas sa publication, qui dépend de l'opinion de la rédaction sur son intéret et sa qualité. Les auteurs sont invités a se pencher sur les récents numéros du Bulletin pour prendre connaissance de son contenu et de son style.

Langues: Les manuscrits peuvent étre rédigés en anglais, en français ou en espagnol, et dans ces deux derniers cas, I'auteur ajoutera, si possible, un résumé en anglais.

Format: Les manuscrits doivent etre dactylographiés, en double interligne, avec une marge suffissante.

Longueur: Les manuscrits ne dovient pas, ordinairement, dépasser 4000 mots.

Tableaux et figures: IIs doivent etre reportés sur des feuillets séparés. Les figures doivent etre claires et précises, avec légendes explicites.

Photographies: En principle, les matériaux photographiques doivent etre remis sous forme de négatifs noir et blanc ou d'épreuves noir et blanc sur papier brillant. Sauf demande expresse les photographies ne seront pas renvoyées.

Unités de mesure: On utilisera de préférence le systeme métrique. Si d'autres systemes sont utilisés, I'équivalent métrique doit etre indiqué.

Bibliographie: Elle doit figurer a la fin du manuscrit, en double interligne; les publications doivent etre numérotées dans l'ordre ou elles apparaissent dans l'article. La référence a un ouvrage ou a tous travaux déja publiés doit comprendre une indication complete du nom du ou des auteurs, du titre, da la maison d'édition et de l'année de publication. La référence a une communication figurant dans un ouvrage`doit comprendre le nom du ou des auteurs, le titre, le responsable de la publication et le titre de celle-ci, la maison d'édition, I'année de publication et la pagination de la communication. Une référence a un article figurant dans un périodique doit indiquer I'auteur ou les auteurs, le titre de l'article, le nom du périodique, le volume et le numéro, la date et la pagination. Ne renfermez pas les références des manuscrits inédits.

Identification: Les auteurs doivent indiquer leur nom complet et leur fonction officielle. Si l'article a déja été remis auparavant ou est retenu pour une autre publication-sous la meme forme ou sous une forme modifiée-on l'indiquera de façon détaillée.

Copies du manuscrit: L'auteur doit conserver un double. Les manuscrits ne seront pas retournés a moins que leurs auteurs n'en fassent expressément la demande.

Les auteurs s'adresseront a: The Editor Food and Nutrition Bulletin 9 Bow Street Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Nota para los posibles autores

Los editores del Food and Nutrition Bulletin agradecen el envío de contribuciones pertinentes al tema de la revista (vea la política editorial de esta revista en el interior de la tapa anterior). La presentación de un artículo no es garantía de su publicación, la cual dependerá del criterio de los editores en lo que respecta a su pertinencia y calidad. Se ruega a los que deseen colaborar que consulten los números recientes de Food and Nutrition Bulletin para cerciorarse de su contenido y estilo.

Idioma. Las contribuciones podrán remitirse en espanol, francés o inglés. En caso de utilizar espanol o francés, el autor deberá incluir, de ser posible, un resumen en inglés.

Formato. Las contribuciones deberán presentarse mecanografiadas, a doble espacio, con márgenes amplios.

Longitud. Las contribuciones ordinarias no deberán exceder las 4.000 palabras.

Cuadros y figuras. Todos los cuadros y figuras deberán presentarse en hojas de papel por separado. Las figuras deberán presentarse en forma clara y precisa y con rotulado legible.

Fotografias. El material fotográfico se presentará preferentemente en blanco y negro, en negativos o en impresión sobre papel brillante. No se devolverá este material fotográfico a no ser que así lo solicite el remitente.

Unidades de medida. Se utilizará preferentemente el sistema métrico decimal. De utilizarse otras unidades, deberán indicarse sus equivalentes en el sistema métrico decimal.

Referencias. Al final del artículo deberán consignarse las referencias, numeradas por orden de aparición en el articulo, también en doble espacio. La referencia a un libro u obra publicada deberá incluir indicación completa del nombre del autor o autores, título del trabajo, editorial y lugar y fecha de publicación. La referencia a un artículo de un libro deberá comprender el nombre del autor o autores del artículo, el título del mismo, editores del libro y título del mismo, editorial, lugar y fecha de publicación, y numeración de las páginas del artículo. La referencia a un articulo de una revista comprenderá nombres del autor o autores, título del artículo, nombre de la publicación, volumen, número y fecha, así como la numeración de las páginas del artículo. El material sin publicar no debe incluirse en las referencias.

Identificación. Los autores deberán consignar su nombre completo y la institución en que cumplen funciones. Si el material del artículo ha sido presentado previamente o se prevé su publicación en otra parte, en forma igual o modificada, se deberá agregar una nota con detalles sobre dicha publicación.

Copias de la contribución. El contribuyente deberá conservar una copia del material que envíe. No se devolverán los manuscritos a no ser que se pida su devolución.

Las contribuciones deberán dirigirse a: The Editor Food and Nutrition Bulletin 9 Bow Street Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Recent and Forthcoming UNU Publications on Food and Nutrition

Identification of Food Components for INFOODS Data Interchange

by John C Klensin, Diane Feskanich, Victor Lin, A. Stewart Truswell, and David A.T. Southgate

Intended to help remedy the glaring incompleteness or inaccessibility in many parts of the world of data on the nutrient composition of foods, this book makes available for the first time a comprehensive standardization of nomenclature for international nutrient data exchange. It provides a straightforward set of rules for identifying food components precisely and constructing data bases suitable for transfer between computers.

WHTR-14/UNUP-734 ISBN 92 BOB-0734-x112 pages, 16.4x 23.9 cm, paper bound, US$20

Food Composition Data: A User's Perspective

Edited by William M. Rand, Carol T. Windham, Bonita W. Wyse, and Vernon R. Young

Knowledge of the composition of the foods eaten around the world is of critical importance for research and policy in public health, dietetics, and nutrition. Data on food composition, however, are extremely inadequate. This volume, examining the current problems of the field and what is needed to improve the situation, provides an essential introduction and survey of the subject for anyone who will be involved in gathering compiling, or using food composition data. It will be a useful reference for university courses on food and nutrition.

WHTR-10/UNUP-633 ISBN 92-BOB-0633-5 240 pages, 16.4x23.9cm,paper-bound, US$20

Research Methods in Nutritional Anthropology

Edited by Gretel H. Pelto, Pertti J. Pelto, and Ellen Messer

A comprehensive manual of anthropological methodologies applicable to field studies in nutrition this volume describes strategies of field research in nutritional anthropology, determinants and cultural components of food intake, methods for collecting and analysing data on energy expenditures, and statistical methods for nutritional anthropology.

WHTR-9/UNUP-632 ISBN 9-808- 0632-7 218 pages, 16.4 x 23.9 cm, paper-bound, US$30

Positive Deviance in Child Nutrition - With Emphasis on Psychosocial and Behavioural Aspects and Implications for Development

by Marian Zeitlin, Hossein Ghassemi, and Mohamed Mansour

Children who grow and develop well in environments where most children suffer malnutrition and chronic illness provide valuable examples to guide the design of programmes aimed at the malnourished. The book examines successful interactions between care-giver and child and the social support systems that sustain them and offers goals and guidance for future research.

WHTR-12/UNUP-697 ISBN 92-BOB-0697-1 16.4 x 23.9 cm, paper bound, US$30

Methods for the Evaluation of the Impact of Food and Nutrition Programmes

Edited by David E Sahn, Richard Lockwood, and Nevin S. Scrimshaw

This state-of-the-art discussion of methods for evaluating food and nutrition programmes focuses primarily on determining specific nutritional impact even in circumstances where adequate baseline data are not available. It recognizes also that food and nutrition programmes can have beneficial effects going beyond traditional health impacts and gives specific attention to social, economic, behavioural, and political consequences that may accompany a feeding programme.

WHTR-6/UNUP-473 ISBN 92-808-0473-1 291 pages, 16.5 x 23.5 cm, paper-bound, US$25

Effective Communications for Nutrition in Primary Health Care

Edited by Jean E Andersen and Aree Valyasevi

Concentrating on the experiences of developing countries, this book advocates the effective communication of nutrition and health information as a key component of primary health care. It provides a framework for evaluating nutrition communications needs, methodological guidelines, and suggestions for programme evaluation.

WHTR- 11/UNUP-634 ISBN 92-808-0634-3 220 pages, 16.4 x 23.9 cm, paper-board, US$20

How to Order Publications

A complete list of UNU publications is available from the University. Publications may be ordered by writing to: The United Nations University, FNB/SU, Toho Seimei Building, 15-1 Shibuya 2-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150, Japan.

Microform Publishing: All UNU publications can be obtained on microfiche.

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