Nutrition research agenda in the context of nutrition problems in Tanzania - a critical review

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Historically, preventing undernutrition (stunting, wasting and underweight) has proven to be very difficult. Broad, food-based counsel is generally too superficial, and multiple nutrient deficiencies often occur even when food recommendations are followed. Advances in dietary assessment and planning over the past 10 years have enabled more precise estimates of nutrient intake and nutrient need. The recommended nutrient intake (RNI) in areas with high rates of stunting and underweight are now available. However, bioavailability is a major constraint for some nutrients, particularly in plant-based diets when food fortification or the use of nutrient supplements does not occur. Inadequate control of infectious diseases is a major factor limiting nutrient utilization and causing poor development of the immune system in young children. The role of mycotoxins in poor immune system development and poor growth is becoming increasingly apparent, but additional research is needed in this area. A number of key research agendas have been identified, which include the need to identify what nutrients are necessary, other than vitamin A, iodine and iron, which are being consumed in inadequate quantities in Tanzania; to establish a country-specific food composition database; to develop appropriate technologies, which can be easily adopted, for preserving and processing foods; to investigate the effects of exposure to mycotoxins on nutritional status and growth; to identify appropriate complementary foods for Tanzanian children; and to investigate the economics of improving nutritional status by promoting animal-based food products in Tanzania. Others research areas include an investigation into the unique cultural dimensions of dietary intake in Tanzanian society; the nutrient requirements for people who have various common illnesses, such as malaria; and the effects on the nutrient content of foods grown under climate change stresses, e.g., moisture and temperature.


Tanzania Journal of Agricultural Sciences 2015, Vol. 14(1) : 78-89


Nutrition research gap, Innovative nutrition research agenda, Nutrient bioavailability, Nutrient deficiencie