What are the Challenges & Opportunities to End Malnutrition in Asia?

Panellists joining the 5th ARoFIIN Roundtable, namely Warren T K Lee of FAO, Sukiet Kittitammachote of Cargill and Mansharan Seth of Tata Trusts, spoke to ARoFIIN on the critical steps needed from various stakeholders to end all forms of malnutrition.

Cross-Sector Collaborations to Deliver Positive Health Outcomes to Society

Ahead of the 5th ARoFIIN Roundtable, Aaron Hawkins of Save the Children, Massimo Reverberi of Bugsolutely and Allison Hollowell of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), share their insights on the challenges that the world is seeing today in terms of improving health and nutrition, and the importance of multi-stakeholder collaborations to tackle the issue of malnutrition in Asia.

Celebrating 5 Years of ARoFIIN

Professor Jeyakumar Henry, Deputy Executive Director of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) and Director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) in Singapore, looks back on the achievements and partnerships ARoFIIN have made over the years, and shares the direction of the organisation moving forward.

A Year in Review with ARoFIIN

We speak to the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) team to understand some of the key achievements of 2018 and what the plans for the roundtable are in the upcoming year.

Shining a Light to Spur Action on Nutrition: Global Nutrition Report 2018

With hunger and obesity still on the rise, the world is off track towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Zero Hunger – ending all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. The current burden of malnutrition across the world is unacceptably high, but with increasing commitment from various countries and the presence of new and better data, the opportunity to end malnutrition has never been greater.

Enabling a Healthy Community in Asia with Localised Approaches

Asia is facing a growing burden of malnutrition, increasing obesity rates, staggering prevalence of undernutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies in both rural and urban communities, despite significant economic growth in the region. While these lifestyle diseases are influenced by a variety of factors, a multi-faceted approach is needed to change health behaviours of the population as there is no silver bullet in reducing the rates of obesity and undernutrition.

Building Partnerships to Promote a Healthy Asia

ARoFIIN in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) gathered several global and regional leaders to address the importance of working collectively to implement country-level initiatives in response to the growing health challenges, encouraging healthier lifestyles in the community; beginning with young children who are “tomorrow’s agents for change.

World Diabetes Day 2018

World Diabetes Day is celebrated annually on November 14. According to the International Diabetes Federation, over 425 million people are currently living with diabetes. Most of these cases are Type 2 diabetes, which can be managed by adopting a balanced diet and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Positive Actions for a Healthier Asia at the 4th ARoFIIN Roundtable

The key ingredient to building a healthier, well-nourished and a more sustainable Asia, is simple yet complex – partnerships. For partnerships to be established and scaled, there is a need to establish a common agenda across agencies and to develop a sensitive approach that is localised and nutrition-specific to encourage the adoption of healthy lifestyles.

Innovations and Partnerships for a Healthier Asia

Kalpana Bhaskaran, Domain Lead at the Applied Nutrition Research and Head of the Glycemic Index Research Unit at the School of Applied Science of Temasek Polytechnic, discusses some key trends driving food innovation in Asia, and how such innovations can be best leveraged to promote better eating habits.

The Active Fight against Asia’s Growing Disease Burden

Even as economies become increasingly affluent, and many can afford to feed their families with greater ability than in the past, there is a nagging worry that children will grow up to be less healthy than their parents. Today’s sedentary pursuits are displacing active lifestyles, and such physical inactivity has been a contributing factor to the growing health challenges around the world.

Starting Young is Key in Tackling Obesity in Thailand and Indonesia

In June 2017, the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN), in collaboration with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), launched a report titled “Tackling Obesity in ASEAN”, to guide policymakers, health organisations and the food & beverage industry in taking on the rising threat in the region.

Tackling Obesity in ASEAN: Indonesia’s Healthy Eating Campaign

Indonesia’s economic growth over the past three decades has produced a burgeoning middle class that is increasingly urbanised and sedentary. The prevalence of overweight/obesity is emerging in Indonesia, with 24.5% of its adult population overweight and 5.7% obese. On the other end of the spectrum, 37.2% of children under the age of five are stunted, which also increases the risks of developing NCDs when they are older.

Impact at Scale: Innovation for the Next Generation of Nutrition

Despite significant progress in recent decades, malnutrition is still a huge barrier to children’s health and development around the world. There is a demand and opportunity for food innovation for improved nutrition across global markets, including low- and middle-income ones, and the private sector has a critical role to play in innovating for affordable, accessible and appealing nutrition for all.

Sufficient Food and Nutrition for Every Child: Innovation and Partnership in the Fight Against Malnutrition

The fight against malnutrition requires vision, investments and tenacity, to improve the health of entire generations of malnourished children around the world. We need innovation and evidence-based research, through multi-stakeholder collaboration, to bring together the areas of food production, value chain management, policy-making and consumer behaviour, in order to maximise our efforts to tackle malnutrition and food insecurity.

Partnerships to Drive Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyles in Malaysia

Speaking with the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN), Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha, public health physician with the Ministry of Health, Malaysia, shared about government plans to encourage healthy lifestyles in Malaysia, and the importance of partnership in effecting behaviour change among consumers.

Increasing Healthy Behaviours around Schools in Asia

Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN), together with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and Save the Children, hosted a roundtable dialogue that gathered stakeholders from academia, civil society, industry and government, to address how various sectors can collaborate on initiatives that drive nutrition literacy, to build a supportive environment that promotes healthy lifestyles among children in Asia.

Tackling Obesity in ASEAN: Thailand’s Nutri-Teachers

Thailand faces the second highest obesity prevalence rate in Southeast Asia at 8.5 per cent, while cardiovascular diseases and stroke were identified as the leading causes of death by 2011 in the country. A three-pronged approach that aims to communicate key nutrition messages to children as part of their school curriculum, alongside modification of the food and physical activity environments to improve the health status in Thailand, has been proposed.

Tackling Obesity in ASEAN: Country-specific Nutrition Education Programmes

As part of efforts to tackle obesity in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ARoFIIN hosted a series of in-country workshops in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines last year, gathering multi-sectoral experts who identified localised, country-specific interventions that focused on nutrition education to children.

The Role of Artificial Sweeteners on Health

It is no surprise that many people are fond of sugar and sweet foods. We’ve been accustomed to having sweet treats as an incentive, or for celebratory occasions in most parts of the world.

The Role of Public-private Partnerships in Delivering Nutrition Interventions

Collaborations among multiple stakeholders across government, industry, academia and civil society sectors continues to be crucial in delivering programmes to improve nutrition and encourage healthier lifestyles in order to tackle obesity, one of the biggest public healthcare challenges of our time.

An Integrated Approach to Solving One of the Region’s Biggest Health Challenges

In an effort to tackle the growing burden of malnutrition around the region, the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) brought together experts from government, academia, civil society and industry, for a dialogue session on Partnerships to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyle in Asia – held in partnership with the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development 2017 in Singapore.

FIA Video: Scaling Up Nutrition Through Multi-stakeholder Partnership

To invest in a better future, in which all forms of malnutrition are addressed, all stakeholders across multiple sectors must come to the table: by stepping out of their comfort zones to bring about change, focusing on concrete impact while building trust and creating win-win solutions, and ensuring usage of an inclusive and transparent data system, said Ms Gerda Verburg, Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations, and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

Multi-Sectoral Partnerships And Dialogue Much Needed To Combat Obesity

To address the public healthcare burden of obesity, a paradigm shift in focus and strategies is needed, says Mr Matt Kovac, Food Industry Asia’s Executive Director. This includes more attention being placed on preventive measures, better education on healthy nutrition that leads to positive behaviour change, as well as multi-stakeholder partnerships and knowledge exchange.

Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships To Transform Food Systems For Improved Sustainability, Security And Health In Asia

The inaugural EAT Asia-Pacific Food Forum brought together leading stakeholders from government, industry, academia and civil society to assess the state of food systems, and discuss both innovative and sustainable solutions to improve food security, sustainable use of natural resources, and health and nutrition among populations in Asia.

Mobilising Partnerships to Tackle Obesity

On the occasion of World Obesity Day on 11 October 2017, ARoFIIN convener Food Industry Asia (FIA) reflects on the growing public health issue of obesity, and how partnerships between the public and private sectors can deliver successful outcomes to deal with the problem.

ARoFIIN Video: Tackling Obesity in Thailand with Industry Partnerships

Thailand faces the second highest obesity prevalence in Southeast Asia at 8.5 per cent, based on the recently launched “Tackling Obesity in ASEAN: Prevalence, impact, and guidance on interventions” report. Speaking with the Secretariat of the ARoFIIN, Associate Professor Dr Visith Chavasit, Director of the Institute of Nutrition at Mahidol University, discusses the issue of a rising obesity rate in Thailand, and the opportunities for public-private partnerships to tackle the problem.

ARoFIIN Video: Addressing Malnutrition in the Philippines

The Philippines battles a double burden of malnutrition – while obesity and overweight affect 18 million Filipinos and costs between four per cent and eight per cent of national healthcare spending, an estimated seven million children in the country still face hunger and under-nutrition. Consumer education, dietary and physical activity interventions among schoolchildren, and public-private partnerships are critical in addressing these challenges, says Dr Mario V. Capanzana.

Tackling Obesity in Malaysia with Consumer Education

Nutrition knowledge among Malaysians needs to be translated into action and practice, says Professor Dr Norimah A. Karim, Vice President of the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (MASO). To tackle obesity, health education should start at a young age, in order to embed good dietary and physical activity habits in lifestyles.

Tackling Obesity in Malaysia with Public-Private Partnerships

To address the grave problem of obesity and related lifestyle diseases in Malaysia, government is working with the food industry, educational institutions and civil society, says Dr Chong Chee Kheong, Director of the Disease Control Division at the Ministry of Health Malaysia.

ARoFIIN Video: Tackling Obesity in Malaysia

Malaysia, among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 6, has the highest obesity and overweight prevalence – 13.3 per cent and 38.5 per cent of the population, respectively. To address this public healthcare burden, a paradigm shift in focus and strategies, with more attention to preventive healthcare; consumer education; and multi-stakeholder partnerships and knowledge exchanges are needed, says Dr Tee E-Siong, President of the Nutrition Society of Malaysia.

Obesity in ASEAN: A Call to Action

The newly released “Tackling obesity in ASEAN: Prevalence, impact, and guidance on interventions” report states that across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), obesity rates vary widely depending on ethnic, genetic, regional and economic differences, as well as socio-economic drivers such as specific social and cultural norms.

Accelerating Progress to End Hunger and Undernutrition

To share lessons from significant progress in Thailand’s work to eliminate hunger and undernutrition in its country, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Mahidol University recently conducted the South-South Learning Workshop to Accelerate Progress to End Hunger and Nutrition for a range of stakeholders from Africa and Asia, in Bangkok, Thailand.

FIA Video: Tackling Obesity in Singapore

Systems-level changes to encourage healthy living, and a shift in mindsets of parents, employers and the private sector, are needed to tackle the pressing problem of overweight and obesity in Singapore, says Professor Chia Kee Seng, Dean, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.

The State of Obesity in Singapore

Singapore has the second-highest overweight prevalence in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – at 32.8 per cent, and among the ASEAN 6, ties with the Philippines for the third-highest rate of increase in number of obese people between 2010 and 2014, at 24 per cent.

Southeast Asia: Getting Fatter, Faster

Obesity prevalence increased by 28 per cent on average in the ASEAN-6 in a four-year period under review, according to a report on obesity released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Obesity Costs Southeast Asia up to US$10billion

Incidence of obesity and overweight is increasing rapidly in Southeast Asia. Today, with between 20 to 35 per cent of adults overweight, obesity is reducing productive (working) life by an average of four to nine years, while the total (direct and indirect) costs of obesity can amount to as much as US$10billion in Southeast Asia, according to a report released today by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Tackling Obesity in ASEAN: Prevalence, Impact, and Guidance on Interventions

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has launched “Tackling Obesity in ASEAN: Prevalence, impact, and guidance on interventions.” This report, commissioned by the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN), analyses obesity in ASEAN through consumer and healthcare practitioner surveys, an intervention effectiveness analysis and an assessment of the economic impact of obesity.

Innovation and partnership to address health and nutrition challenges in Asia

The Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) had its third annual roundtable on 27 April in Singapore. Kicked off with an introduction by Bruno Kistner, ARoFIIN Secretary, the event featured presentations by representatives from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB), Taylor’s University and BioAnalyt GmbH.

A Life Free from Hunger

In Asia, malnutrition – or lack of proper diet and nutrients – affects millions of children, severely limiting their potential. While there has been some progress on reducing malnutrition, a combination of global trends – climate change, economic uncertainty and volatile food prices – is putting the future progress on tackling malnutrition at risk.

NUS-FST Industry Day 2017

The Food Science & Technology Programme (FST) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) organised its annual NUS-FST Industry Day on 12 April, where students had the opportunity to present their final-year projects and engage with representatives from the food industry and government agencies.

Food Innovation is A Global Mission

What kind of team spends 60 days traveling around the world in search of not just the best food, but also a global perspective on innovation? Meet the delegates of the Food Innovation Global Mission (FIGM) – 14 students who hail from countries and fields of studies far and wide to study about the development and diffusion of radical innovations in the food industry. During their stop in Singapore, the students took part in a Design Thinking Workshop that was held in conjunction with ARoFIIN.

What can rice scientists offer to a sugary world?

The global rise in modern lifestyle diseases calls for urgent attention to diet-based nutritional interventions across the entire socioeconomic consumer spectrum, says Nese Sreenivasulu, Head of Grain Quality and Nutrition Centre, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The solution, he said, can be found in diversifying into more food products with greater health benefits.

Fortifying Meals for Social Good

45RICE is a social enterprise dedicated to improving lives through nutrition. With the motto “fortifying every meal”, 45RICE brings essential vitamins and minerals to a bowl of rice, turning empty carbs into healthy carbs.

Rice fortification as a contribution to combat malnutrition

Although the world has made advancements toward the elimination of hunger, malnutrition rates have only improved marginally and continue to result in stunting and wasting, particularly in key Asian economies. Improving of access to nutritious food intake can start at the food production stage, through food fortification.

A Healthy Relationship

More so than infectious diseases and other traditional healthcare issues, obesity is fast becoming the top risk factor targeting public health. As the issue grows in Asia, a unique public-private partnership is driving food innovation to tackle obesity in the region.

Obesity – Causes, Evolution and Solutions

Obesity is a complex problem, and a variety of tailored intervention strategies are needed to address it in its different forms, said Professor Michael J. Gibney of the Institute of Food and Health, University College Dublin (UCD), at an FIA Lunch Series session in Singapore, where he shared his thoughts on the misperceptions of, and the solutions for, obesity.

Taylor’s University Malaysia signs agreement with Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès

In the presence of the Malaysian Minister of Health, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, a launch event was held at Taylor’s University with the objective to generate a pool of expertise, facilities and material resources to study the links between diet and health for and from the perspective of Euro-Asian populations.

Tackling Childhood Obesity Through A Whole-of-Society Approach

In an exclusive interview with Food Industry Asia (FIA) on the occasion of World Obesity Day, Dr Sania Nishtar, co-chair of the World Health Organization's Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO), founder and president of Heartfile, and a candidate for the role of WHO Director-General, talks about how obesity is a multi-factorial issue that requires a whole-of-society solution.

Thailand Launches Healthier Choice Logo Labelling Scheme

Dr Tipvon Parinyasiri, Director, The Bureau of Food, Food and Drug Administration Thailand, and Professor Visith Chavasit from the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, share about Thailand’s recently launched front-of-pack logo labelling scheme, which helps consumers to identify healthier food options.

The Role of Public-private Partnership in Tackling Global Malnutrition

Professor Emorn Udomkesmalee, Co-chair of the 2016 Global Nutrition Report and Senior Advisor at the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, shares what public-private partnerships, such as the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN), can do to tackle malnutrition in all its forms.

Food Industry Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits By Increasing Adoption of GDA Nutrition Labelling in Asia

Food Industry Asia (FIA) today released Fast Facts on Packs, the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) Nutrition Labelling Report 2016. The report reveals that significant progress has been made in driving availability and awareness of GDA nutrition labelling as an industry initiative, to tackle obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by educating and supporting consumers in making healthy diet choices.

FIA Video: Understanding GDA Nutrition Labelling

A short video to help consumers better understand how to use Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) nutrition labelling to make healthier eating choices.

Partnerships to tackle malnutrition in children across Asia

At their first dialogue session, members and partners of the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) met with Save the Children to explore ways of collaboration and engagement, in order to improve nutrition across the Asia region.

How Guideline Daily Amount Labelling Can Support Healthy Eating Habits

In order to educate and support consumers in making healthier diet choices, governments and food companies need to work together to develop nutrition labels that are simple and easy to read and understand. Matt Kovac, Executive Director of Food Industry Asia (FIA), shares why Front-of-Pack (FOP) Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) labelling meets the criteria.

Global Nutrition Report: A Call to Action in Asia

Commenting on the recently published 2016 Global Nutrition Report, Professor Emorn Udomkesmalee, Co-chair of the report and Senior Advisor at the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, says that public-private partnerships hold the key to tackling the obesity epidemic.

An analysis of the multiple burdens of malnutrition: food systems and drivers

The recently published issue of Sight and Life Magazine analysed the issues related to food and nutrition security, and offered a number of contributions to the topic of food systems. This article summarises the most important messages from the chapter “The Multiple Burdens of Malnutrition.

Report: Malnutrition now the “New Normal” worldwide

The 2016 Global Nutrition Report was launched at an event organised by the Chinese Nutrition Society, an ARoFIIN participant, in Beijing, China, on 17 June. Acknowledging that all countries in Asia face the challenge of tackling multiple forms of malnutrition, speakers at the launch event raised the profile of nutrition as a central economic and human development issue regionally, as well as globally.

Expanding awareness of ARoFIIN

Food Industry Asia’s member companies in China have shown initial interest in the expansion of the public-private partnership platform, Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN), into the country.

ARoFIIN presented as sustainable public-private partnership at EAT Forum

Matt Kovac, Executive Director of Food Industry Asia (FIA), was part of a panel discussion on “The Money: Business Practices and Sustainability” on 13 June, as part of the EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Singapore’s War on Diabetes: An Opportunity for ARoFIIN to Participate

Food Industry Asia (FIA) welcomes Singapore’s declaration of a “war on diabetes” and supports the government’s plans to set up a taskforce that will include the public and private sectors, in an effort to tackle the diabetes epidemic.

“Beat Diabetes”: The Focus of World Health Day 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) observed World Health Day 2016 on 7 April with a targeted campaign to “Beat Diabetes”, in light of the disease’s significant impact on individuals, healthcare systems and economies worldwide.

Diabetes Rates Set to Double by 2030

The rising number of obese and overweight adults and young people in the South-East Asian region is likely to put more individuals at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to data gathered by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), for a report that seeks to highlight the economic impact of obesity.

Partnership at the Heart of Addressing Nutrition and Health Challenges in Asia

With at least 2.8 billion people worldwide affected by the dual burden of obesity and undernutrition, the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) is determined to come up with a home-grown solution to tackle the problem across Asia.

South-East Asia is Getting Fatter, Faster

An inception report on “The Current Landscape and State of Health in Relation to Obesity in South-East Asia”, by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), has found that the obesity rate in the ASEAN Six is increasing faster than that of countries like the USA, UK and Japan.

Partnership to Tackle Obesity in Asia Now in its Second Year

Obesity and other chronic diseases are caused by a multitude of factors, hence, the need for a whole package of complex solutions where different stakeholders have different roles to play.

Driving Better Nutrition in Asia Through Public-Private Partnership

With the double burden of obesity and undernutrition emerging as a threat to health and healthcare systems in the Asian region, a unique public-private partnership is looking at ways to initiate and sustain stakeholder dialogue on food innovation and improved nutrition to deal with these issues.

Better Nutrition In Asia: A Shared Responsibility

Professor Jeyakumar Henry, Director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) in Singapore, discusses issues related to hunger and malnutrition in Asia, as well as the importance of public-private partnership in developing a solution to tackle these problems.

Second Annual Global Nutrition
Report Launched

The International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Nutrition Report 2015, focusing on obesity and non-communicable diseases and detailing progress made by countries to meet global nutrition targets, has been released.

Mobilising Innovation Expertise to Tackle Obesity

World Obesity Day, which took place on 11 October 2015, sought to highlight the impact of obesity on people’s lives, health systems and economies. As part of its theme to communicate the impact of obesity in these three areas, World Obesity Day seeks to recognise innovative initiatives being undertaken around the world to tackle obesity.

Working To End Obesity Through
Public-Private Partnership

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Co-chair of the World Health Organization’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, provides insight into the obesity problem in Asia and explains the critical need for a multi-stakeholder solution in working to end the epidemic.

Scaling for Impact:
Why it is Important

Almost all business entities want to invest in products and services that can be sold at scale across multiple markets. Business likes achieving economy of scale because it produces more at less cost. It is basic economics – nothing too startling, nothing too new.

Nutritional Education
Starts at Home

As the public and private sectors work to enhance consumer education in nutrition, research highlights the importance of healthy eating habits starting from home.