Egypt Strategy Support Program: Public health and nutrition
Public Health and Nutrition
Jef Leroy, IFPRI
Research Priority Setting Workshop
Egypt Strategy Support Program
MARCH 1, 2016 | CAIRO, EGYPT
Background & Rationale
• Both under- and overnutrition have high individual and societal
costs and limit a country’s development potential, e.g.:
Undernutrition: reduced schooling, reduced earnings at adulthood
Overnutrition: increased incidence of non-communicable diseases,
increased disability, increased healthcare costs
• The rate at which maternal overweight and obesity increase with
rising wealth is higher than the accompanying decline in the
prevalence of stunting in children
• Result: double burden, i.e. households with
• Higher BMI significantly associated with higher all-cause mortality
IFPRI Research Example: Weight gain in
adult women following a food-basket and
cash intervention in Mexico
Source: Leroy et al. 2013
Weight gain (g) per annum in women
Control Food basket Cash
IFPRI Research Example: The role of
maternal education in reducing maternal
Source: Leroy et al. 2014
• Only relieving household budget constraints is not
sufficient to have the desired impact on nutrition:
- Mexico program had an adverse effect on
- The impact on child growth was small.
• Higher education provides a stimulating effect for
children nutrition and a protective effect for women’s
• How education exerts its impact is not exactly known.
Knowledge Gaps & Research Questions
• How can we ensure that interventions and programs
aimed at increasing wealth are “nutrition-sensitive”, i.e.
- They improve the nutritional status of the most vulnerable
groups (young children, women, adolescent girls)
- They do not lead to unhealthy weight gain.
• What is the role of education? How does education
work? How can education be used to provide desired
impacts on improving the nutrition and health of all.
• How can effective behavior change communication
be combined with interventions in other sectors
(agriculture, social protection,…) to improve the
nutritional status of all household members?