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Almaty Declaration of 1996

The following declaration was adopted unanimously at the close of an international conference on National Nutrition Policies fat Kazakstan and the Central Asian Republics in March 1996. Also adopted at the Conference was an Action Plan for dealing with the nutrition problems of the region, which is to be implemented by the governments with the support of international and bilateral agencies. A copy of this Action Plan can be obtained from the Editorial Office of the Food and Nutrition Bulletin, Charles Street Sta., P.O. Box 500, Boston, MA 02114-0500, USA.

Government officials, scientists, nutrition and health professionals, and other representatives of Kazakstan and the Central Asian Republics attending the international conference "The Kazakstan Nutrition Policy in the context of Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978" (Almaty, Kazakstan, 27-28 March 1996) organized by the Institute of Nutrition of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakstan, the Ministry of Health, and the Kazakstan Academy of Preventive Medicine, in cooperation with and support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF);

Considering the above Conference as an important follow-up to the International Conference on Primary Health Care that was held in Alma-Ata in 1978;

Being aware of and focusing on large-scale and specific health and nutrition problems of Kazakstan and the Central Asian Republics which are currently undergoing a difficult period of social and economic restructuring;

Giving special emphasis to securing protection of the most vulnerable population groups, including children and women;

Recognizing that:

  1. Adequate nutrition is a human right and major determinant of the health and functional capacity of people and a significant factor in the mental and physical development of children in Kazakstan and the Central Asian Republics;
  2. Kazakstan and the Central Asian Republics have both the nutrition and health problems seen in developing countries and those of industrialized countries;
  3. Dietary practices and other food related behaviours can have immediate or long-term consequences for health including such major causes of adult morbidity and mortality as obesity, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, and some forms of cancer;
  4. Serious malnutrition and its social and economic consequences can be eliminated as a public health problem if it is given the priority that it deserves in national policy;

Being in particular concerned that:

  1. A majority of women and children in populations of the area are affected by iron deficiency anaemia. Iron deficiency anaemia damages pregnancy outcomes, lowers resistance to infectious diseases, decreases physical work capacity, and affects temperature regulation in response to cold. Iron deficiency anaemia during infancy may have a lasting impact on cognitive performance.
  2. The high prevalence of iodine deficiency in the area is frequently associated with a permanent adverse impact on the brain and neurological development of the foetus of the iodine deficient mother;
  3. Despite the importance of nutrition and the high prevalence of nutrition-related health problems, knowledge of how to achieve healthy nutrition in both children and adults is grossly inadequate among health professionals, teachers, and the general public;

Highly appreciating the support provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and other international agencies, donor governments, and non-governmental organizations to measures for the improvement of nutrition and health that are undertaken by the Governments of the Central Asian Republics and Kazakstan;

Stressing the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for the first four to six months of life followed by timely and appropriate complementary feeding for the health of the child as well as for the economics of the Central Asian Republics and Kazakstan;

Taking note of:

  1. The commitment of the Governments of the Central Asian Republics and Kazakstan to the goals of the 1990 World Summit for Children to iodinate all salt for human consumption, reduce iron deficiency, and promote "baby-friendly" hospitals;
  2. The affirmation of the Governments of the Central Asian Republics and Kazakstan of the goal to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders through the iodation of salt at the meeting in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) in 1994;
  3. The affirmation of the Governments of the Central Asian Republics and Kazakstan at the meeting in Ankara (Turkey) in 1994 to promote breastfeeding and make all maternity hospitals "baby-friendly";

Therefore, urge the Governments of Kazakstan and the Central Asian Republics to undertake the following major actions:

  1. Eliminate iron deficiency anaemia in all pregnant women and in infants and young children detected by routine haemoglobin determination to be anaemic by providing weekly iron supplementation. Reduce iron deficiency through the fortification of wheat flour with iron;
  2. Eliminate the problem of iodine deficiency disorders by the iodation of all salt for human consumption and ad interim other measures;
  3. Make all maternity hospitals "baby-friendly" by introducing practices that encourage and facilitate breastfeeding by issuing appropriate decrees and guidelines, providing for the reorientation of health personnel, and adopting the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes;
  4. Immediately begin to strengthen the education and training in nutrition of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals and include nutrition in the training of school teachers and in primary and secondary school curriculums;
  5. Initiate national mass media campaigns to improve nutrition knowledge, dietary practices, and nutrition related lifestyles detrimental to health;
  6. Give a high priority within existing resources to increasing support for national institutions concerned with professional training in nutrition, nutrition research and policy, food control and food safety, analysis of food composition, nutrition training, and the development of nutrition education materials.

Appeal to the world community, the United Nations, and other international organizations, bilateral governmental and non-governmental agencies for urgent additional financial and technical support to complete the requirements for implementing the above actions.


Meeting announcement

The 16th International Congress of Nutrition, under the auspices of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences, will be held at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Quebec, Canada, 27 July-l August 1997. The theme of the congress is "From nutrition science to nutrition practice for better global health." The goal of the programme is to explore the current edge of research in nutrition sciences and the relevance of this information in setting nutrition policy, providing the consumer with quality food products, and making recommendations for nutrition practices that will optimize health through the prevention and treatment of disease. Some symposia will be interdisciplinary, providing an opportunity for integration of knowledge of nutrition topics that reflect international perspectives of basic and applied animal and human nutritionists, educators, food scientists, and regulatory bodies. In addition to daily plenary sessions and the symposia, the scientific programme will highlight panel debates and workshops, both of which are designed to be the working sessions for groups of scientists to discuss interactively current issues in nutrition. Young scientists will be encouraged to attend and participate in the meeting through a competitive travel award programme.

Major themes will include new methodologies in nutrition sciences from genetic engineering to application of stable isotopic tracer techniques. Topics related to basic nutritional physiology and biochemistry will be explored in relation to the needs of specific groups, such as infants, women, athletes, the elderly, indigenous peoples, and people in emerging nations. Current dietary prevention and treatment strategies in cancer, AIDS, severe malnutrition, and atherosclerosis will be explored. New approaches to nutrition education targeted to subspecialists in health care and the global community-at-large will also be featured.

For information contact the Congress Secretariat, 16th International Congress of Nutrition, c/o Conference Services Office, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0R6; telephone (613) 993-7271, fax (613) 993-7250, E-mail


Course announcement

The Graduate School VLAG (Advanced Studies in Nutrition, Food Technology, Agrobiotechnology, and Health Sciences) in Wageningen, Netherlands, in cooperation with the Working Party on Food Chemistry of the Federation of European Chemical Societies, the Federation of European Nutrition Societies, the European Academy of Nutrition Sciences, and the International Life Sciences Institute (Europe), announces the Bioavailability '97 Symposium to be held at Wageningen, Netherlands, 25 28 May 1997 under the joint chairmanship of Professor A. G. J. Voragen and Professor C. E. West. The programme has been designed to cover all aspects related to nutritional, chemical, and food-processing implications of bioavailability and will comprise keynote lectures, short oral presentations, poster sessions, and workshops.

Further information can he obtained from Mrs. L. A. Duym, Department of Human Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural University, P. O. Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, Netherlands; telephone +31 317 483054, fax +31 317 483342, E-mail Information can also be found at

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