The International Union of Nutritional Sciences’ (IUNS) activities are executed through its Adhering Bodies (AB) and Affiliated Bodies (AfB). These are country and regional nutrition associations that form the membership of IUNS. IUNS also has Task Forces that work on specific nutrition related topics to generate a better understanding of the issue. Currently IUNS has about 80 AB and 15 AfB. Several new applications for AB and AfB membership have been received and considered by Council. These will be ratified at the General Assembly at the International Congress of Nutrition in Granada, Spain in September 2013.
IUNS’ activities are driven by its mission of promoting the advancement of the science of nutrition, research and development through international cooperation globally. IUNS accomplishes its mission through its task forces and ABs.
1. IUNS Task Forces
In April 2010, Council approved ten Task Forces to operate for the next four years:
Diet, nutrition and long-term health. Chair: Noel Solomons
Capacity development and leadership in nutrition. Chair: Ibrahim Elmadfa
Nutrition security and rural-urban transition. Chair: Osman Galal
Gene-nutrient interaction. Chair: van Ommen and Alfredo Martinez
Assessing benefits of nutritionals and neutraceuticals. Chair: V Prakash
Achievements of Task Forces
Task Forces are at various levels of activity and this is reflected in their output.
The Task Force on Prevention and Control of Malnutrition has developed three competency-based e-learning modules for the identification, treatment and prevention of malnutrition. These modules are captured in a CD and are available for incorporation into undergraduate training courses in nutrition, medicine, and nursing and for in-service training of health professionals. A paper has been published (“Malnutrition treatment to become a core competency” by C Schofield, A Ashworth and AA Jackson. Arch Dis Childhood. March 2011). The website of this task Force is www.imtf.org.
Task Force on INFOODS: The achievements of this TF include several publications such as i) Guidelines on the compilation of food composition data to assist countries to harmonize their compilation process (Rand et al 1991); ii) INFOODS food matching guidelines (FAO/INFOODS, 2011) to guide users on how to match food composition data to food in INFOOD composition databases to estimate nutrient intakes. (Available at: http://www.fao.org/infoods/projects.en.stm); iii) Development of various regional Food Composition Tables. This TF has organized over 20 international training courses on food compositions. Several of these courses were in developing countries. A database management tool (the compilation tool) has been developed and has been widely distributed.
Task Force on Traditional, indigenous and cultural foods and nutrition: This TF has recently published a book entitled “Indigenous peoples food systems: the many dimensions of culture, diversity and environment for nutrition and health” by HV Kuhnlein, O Receveur, R Souida and GM Egeland. 2009. (Available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0370e/i0370e00.htm).
2. IUNS – International Congress of Nutrition (IUNS-ICN), Granada, Spain
The 20th IUNS-ICN has been scheduled for September 15-20, 2013. The ICN will be hosted by the Spanish Nutrition Society (SEN) under the theme “Joining Cultures through Nutrition”. A number of educational workshops are planned as forerunners to the Congress. The first of such workshops took place on Nov 7, 2011. These workshops will be held every 3 months until the Congress begins. The Scientific Advisory Group is working with the Local Organizing Committee to put together a “delectable” scientific program. Groups and Organizations interested in sponsoring an activity can contact the conference Organizing Committee at email@example.com .
To guide IUNS in its interaction with the private sector, the “IUNS Private Sector Engagement Policy” has been published (SCN News #39 2011 page 78).
IUNS has signed a scientific agreement with Unilever (2009-2011 and 2011-2013). Under this agreement, Unilever supports IUNS capacity building effort by supporting the participation of young investigators in the ICN and other IUNS-AB regional conferences.
In the coming year, the collaboration will cover workshops in different regions on “changing behavior of consumers regarding salt/sodium consumption”.
On April 7, 2011, IUNS in collaboration with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF and Unilever, organized a workshop on “Fat in the critical 1000 days: ensuring adequacy of essential dietary fats for mothers and young children in low and middle income countries”. The proceedings of the workshop is available at http://www.gainhealth.org/events/fat-critical-1000-days.
4. IUNS and Regional Congresses
IUNS Council participated fully in the Federation of the European Nutrition Societies conference in October 2011. IUNS organized three symposia sessions that focused on nutritional issues from the regions:
Global food crisis: Effect on food and nutrition security in Africa.
Institutional capacity development in nutrition and nutrition leadership programs in Europe.
Nutrition in Asia-Pacific: The new face of malnutrition in Asia-Pacific.
Austrian Nutrition Society celebrates 60th anniversary:
A conference was organized (October 2011) to commemorate the occasion under the theme: Nutrition in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. IUNS Council members participated by presenting the following:
Non-Communicable Diseases: Global public health concerns (I Elmadfa)
Prevalence of NCDs in sub-Saharan Africa (A Lartey)
Prevalence of NCDs in South-East Asia (E Wasantwisut)
Folate/Vitamin B12 requirements with focus on controversies concerning recommendations (L Allen)
To improve diet quality: Do the best, food based! (S Murphy)
Food fermentation- an old/new trend for food for better health (V Prakash)
6. IUNS Council members support the SUN Movement:
In September 2010 a global movement called Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) was launched by global leaders including the UN Secretary General (Ban Ki Moon) and the US Secretary of State (Mrs Hilary Rodham Clinton). The purpose of this movement is to harness increased political commitment to address the high burden of malnutrition. The SUN Movement provides opportunity for high malnutrition burdened countries, that sign up as SUN countries, to commit to scale up successful nutrition interventions. The SUN Movement focuses action on the first 1000 days (covering pregnancy to 24 months after birth), the window of opportunity to prevent malnutrition. The Coordinator of SUN is Dr David Nabbaro, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition. The SUN Movement brings together international donors, civil society groups, development agencies, private sector and governments to work to scale up actions to tackle undernutrition within countries. Although IUNS has not formally engaged with SUN, several IUNS Council members are involved at various levels with running the SUN Movement. Emorn Wasantwisut serves on the SUN transition team, Anna Lartey is one of the Co-facilitators of the SUN Civil Society network and Godwin Ndossi serves on the Tanzania SUN platform. IUNS fully supports the objective of SUN. IUNS can support SUN by providing technical assistance to its Adhering Bodies that are members of SUN. IUNS Adhering Bodies are encouraged to join the SUN platforms in their countries through their National SUN Civil Society groups.
7. IUNS Training and Capacity Building activities:
Building capacity of young nutrition scientists is at the core of IUNS activities. IUNS initiated the Nutrition Leadership Program (NLP) in the early 1990s. Today the NLPs have been held in all regions (Europe, Africa and Latin America). The European Nutrition Leadership Program (ENLP) has over 500 alumni while the African Nutrition Leadership Program (ANLP) has trained over 200 young scientists from Africa. It is noteworthy that our in-coming President for 2013 (Dr Anna Lartey) is a graduate of the first ANLP-2002.
8. The way forward:
Several additional activities are now underway.
i) Revamping the IUNS website- The IUNS website is undergoing re-construction. The new interactive website should be accessible by June 1, 2012. We crave the indulgence of our Adhering Bodies and Affiliated Bodies for the delay in updating the website.
ii) IUNS General Assembly- In preparation for the IUNS General Assembly in September 2013, Adhering Bodies are requested to send names of candidates for consideration as IUNS Fellows. The deadline for the receipt of nomination is September 2012.
Adhering Bodies are to note that elections for the next Council members will take place at the General Assembly in 2013 in Granada, Spain. Adhering Bodies are to forward the names of potential candidates to the Secretary General for consideration by the Nominating Committee. The deadline for the submission of names is March 2013.
iii) IUNS Satelite Forum- Council is considering the initiation of an IUNS Satellite Forum that will discuss topical issues in nutrition. It is proposed that the Forum will occur every other year. This will be placed before the General Assembly for discussion and approval.
iii) IUNS Training activities- Under the IUNS International Malnutrition Task Force (IMTF), two competency-based training workshops are planned. The first will be in Accra, Ghana from December 10-14, 2012. A second workshop planned for the Asia region in 2013 will be held in Bangladesh. The purpose of these workshops is to strengthen and build capacity of nutritionists, medical, nursing and other health professionals in the management and prevention of malnutrition.
IUNS President: Prof Ibrahim Elmadfa (firstname.lastname@example.org)