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Challenge of Change

What is Food & Nutrition Security?

Food and nutrition security is when all individuals have reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food to lead a healthy life. Food and nutrition security has four dimensions that encompass both chronic and transitory (acute) situations:

Availability

Sufficient food must be produced on a consistent basis and then delivered/imported.

Access

Food may be produced and available for consumption, but it does no good if it can’t reach the people who need it. There must be sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious and culturally suitable diet.

Utilization

Food must be prepared and consumed appropriately based on knowledge of basic nutrition and handling, as well as availability of adequate water and sanitation to prevent foodborne disease.

Stability

Availability, access, and utilization of food.

The prevalence of undernutrition as a standalone indicator cannot capture the multidimensionality of food and nutrition security. FAO’s report The State of Food Insecurity in the World presents a suite of indicators describing the four dimensions of food security: availability, access (economic and physical), utilization, and stability (vulnerability and shocks) over time and shows the issue’s complexity:

Universities can lead the conversation and contribute wide-ranging expertise on the multiple dimensions of availability, access, utilization, and stability, while actively promoting equity and inclusion in discovery, engagement, and learning efforts. Indeed, finding ways for institutions to remove the constraints of global food systems and university operations will help pave the way to successfully feeding the world.

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