|Food and Nutrition Bulletin Volume 12, Number 1, 1990 (UNU, 1990, 88 pages)|
A workshop on Activity, Energy Expenditure, and Energy Requirements of Infants and Children was held by the International Dietary Energy Consultative Group (IDECG) at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, from 14 to 17 November 1989.
The committee responsible for the 1985 FAO/ WHO/UNU report Energy and Protein Requirements defined energy requirements for adults as "the amount needed to maintain health, growth, and an appropriate level of physical activity." The "appropriate" level of physical activity depends on a person's occupational and other activities which are part of his or her lifestyle and may be quite difficult to define, but the committee maintained that a definition of energy requirements makes sense only if one specifies "what for?" - i.e., an appropriate or desirable level of physical activity and energy expenditure for the particular population group under consideration.
When turning to the energy requirements of infants, children, and adolescents, the committee stated: "Although, in principle, it would be desirable to determine the requirements of children in the same way as for adults, from measurements of energy expenditure, this approach involves many difficulties in practice." Since the necessary information on energy expenditure in that age group was not available at that time, the determination of energy requirements continued to be based on information on the energy intakes of infants and children growing normally.
Thanks to the development of the doubly-labelled water method and renewed interest in that area, a considerable amount of new information on children's activities and energy expenditure has become available since then. The Steering Committee of IDECG therefore concluded that it would be useful and timely to reanalyse the energy requirements of infants and children from this new perspective.
Thirty scientists from 10 countries participated in the workshop. The meeting began with the presentation of 16 commissioned papers dealing with physiological methods used to assess the different components of energy expenditure in infants and children, new data obtained by these methods and their limitations, responses and adaptations to disease, under- and over-nutrition, the relevance of physical activity to cognitive and socio-emotional development, and temperamental and socio-cultural variations in activity. One and a half days were devoted to discussions of the implications of new findings in this area for various aspects of public health policy, and of needs and priorities for further research and action.
The last afternoon began with discussion of the medium- and long-term plans of IDECG, based on a report on this subject by Prof. G. Beaton. Later, IDECG's Advisory Group met to discuss objectives and activities for the next two years and to make its recommendations to the Steering Committee.
The report of the workshop should be available from the Nestlé Foundation, Lausanne, Switzerland, and the UNU in the autumn of 1990.
Course on nutritional epidemiology
The European postgraduate summer course in public health, Nutritional Epidemiology, Theory and Application, will be held at the University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, 9-27 July 1990, under the auspices of the University of Southampton Nutritional Epidemiology Group, with EURONUT Concerted Action on Nutrition and Health in the European Community, the WHO Collaborating Centre on Nutritional Epidemiology, West Berlin, and the Wessex Medical School Trust.
The course will have a distinguished faculty from many different European countries.
The emphasis in its structure will be on the application of theory to the practical organization and completion of different types of epidemiological studies. Each session in the morning and afternoon will consist of a lecture before participants break into small groups. Small-group activities will involve discussion of material covered in the lectures, critical reviews of literature, and practical activities designing studies in the light of concepts covered.
The course will be arranged around five broad topics: basic issues in nutrition epidemiology, descriptive epidemiological studies, case-control studies, cohort studies, and intervention studies. In these areas, systematic attention will be given to: objectives of research, causation, sample selection, study design, study planning and management, measures of disease, measures of effect, power, strength of association, measurement error, misclassification, confounding, validity, bias, dietary methods, food tables, data aggregation, data bases, types of dietary data, validation of intakes, biochemical markers, nutritional-status assessment (anthropometric, biochemical and clinical), principles of RDA's, and requirements of ethical issues.
The course, which will be given in English, will be restricted to 30 participants. All applicants should have some experience in nutritional-epidemiological research. The course fee is £1,250, which includes a nonrefundable deposit of £150. This fee covers full board in university accommodation and tuition fees.
For further information write to: Dr. B. M. Margetts, Course Director, MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO9 4XY, UK. Telephone: 0703-777624. Fax: 0703704062.
M.Sc. course in food technology in developing countries
King's College London has recently launched a new M.Sc. course in Food Technology in Developing Countries, which offers a completely new approach to this important area. Conventional courses tend to concentrate on food science, processing techniques, equipment, and financial management without taking into account the social and economic context in which these are to be applied. In contrast, this new course directs half of the teaching time to the social and economic contexts of food technology and includes a project (dissertation) in which course participants investigate both the scientific/technical and the social context of a chosen food technology, including its impact on nutrition. The aim of the course is thus to develop expertise to choose technology and assess or predict the consequences of technological change.
Modernization has often been seen in terms of transferring technologies from the industrial countries. Although in some situations large-scale, capital-intensive projects may well be appropriate, in many others they have turned out to be costly mistakes in terms both of finance and of food security. Many are working far below capacity or have even had to be closed down altogether because of inadequate foreign exchange to purchase imported inputs or spare parts and are therefore not contributing to economic development. Meanwhile, strategies for developing a network of smaller-scale industries, which could improve food security by extending the shelf-life of local food commodities through processing or by improving food entitlements through income generation, have been neglected.
This course focuses on "best-practice" cases of food-technology development based on locally available sources of finance and technology, taking into account transport constraints and the widely dispersed nature of potential raw material supply. It promotes the view that the design and implementation of the most appropriate technology for a given situation requires expertise in both food science/ technology and social/economic analysis of food systems, including causes of poor nutrition in individuals and communities.
The course is taught by staff who have considerable work experience in developing countries and who come from the fields of food technology, food policy and marketing, nutrition, and social anthropology. It includes the following elements:
- food science,
- principles of food processing and preservation,
- principles of nutrition and applied nutrition,
- applied statistics,
- food and agricultural policies,
- food, society, and culture,
- agricultural production and agricultural ecology,
- food-systems analysis, indigenous technical knowledge, and technological transfer,
- food technology in developing countries,
- a research project.
The course has already attracted a considerable amount of interest internationally. It is anticipated that successful candidates will take up positions of considerable responsibility in the fields of food-technology development and evaluation, including posts as administrators of food-security and income-generating programmes, small-business development schemes, and women's programmes; planners or managers in food-processing industries, co-operatives, banks and other financial agencies, and non-government organizations; staff members of training institutions for food technologists, agricultural-extension and community-development officers, home economists, and nutritionists; and university-based or other research and development workers in food technology.
Further details and application forms are available from: Dr. J. V. S. Jones, Course Director, M.Sc. in Food Technology in Developing Countries, King's College London, Campden Hill Road, London W8 7AH, UK.
Directory of social scientists concerned with food and nutrition
Since 1985 the Cambridge Programme Office of the United Nations University has maintained a computerized directory of anthropologists and sociologists concerned with food and nutrition. In January of this year a mailing was sent to all of the 337 persons from 54 countries listed in the directory, requesting them to update the information therein.
In addition, new sections will be added to the directory for behavioural scientists and economists concerned with food and nutrition issues. Forms for inclusion in the directory have been sent to a number of individuals identified on the basis of their publications, but the lists are very incomplete.
Social scientists in any of these categories concerned with food and nutrition issues who are not currently listed or have not received forms for inclusion are requested to write to the address below asking for a form. Anyone aware of persons who should be included in the directory is asked to bring this announcement to their attention.
Address all correspondence to:
Directory of Social Scientists
Food, Nutrition, and Development Programme
United Nations University Programme Office 9 Bow Street
Cambridge, MA 02138, USA