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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

How do you pinpoint where the most nutritionally vulnerable are located?

Guest post by Dr. Helena Pachón, CIAT Nutritionist and Director of AgroSalud

This municipal-level poverty map of Mexico is used assess priorities for nutrition interventions.

How do you pinpoint where the most nutritionally vulnerable are located?  Answering this question poses an important challenge for nutrition professionals as most nutrition information is gathered at the national or state level, not at the local level.  At CIAT, we collaborated with student interns from the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Universidad Nacional de Colombia and the Universidad del Valle to come up with a method to identify localities that meet two criteria:  state-level statistics indicate that malnutrition levels are high and local-level statistics indicate that poverty is prevalent.  We tested this method against local-level nutrition information that had been gathered in Mexico and found good concordance (>66%) between those localities identified as high risk for malnutrition (by our method) and those with demonstrated malnutrition (using information collected by Mexican officials).  In the absence of local-level nutrition information, the method we propose can be used as a starting point for identifying places where malnutrition is highest and individuals may benefit from an intervention.  For more information, see the recently published paper in Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional, Campinas, 18(1): 93-105, 2011.

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