Nutritional status is both a driving factor influencing food insecurity, and also an outcome of food insecurity. As a driving factor, poor nutrition status affects the vulnerability of a population to the impact of shocks, increasing the risk of food insecurity. As an outcome, nutritional status can be an indication of a population’s level of food insecurity.
FEWS NET’s knowledge base on nutrition includes: 1) a database of key results from small- and large-scale nutrition surveys collected over at least the past 10 years; 2) nutrition context documents in specific focus countries; and 3) occasional nutrition causal analysis to identify the main factors driving malnutrition in areas of concern. FEWS NET analysts use the knowledge base to evaluate the current nutrition situation and the underlying nutrition context in order to inform early warning analysis.
FEWS NET uses nutrition information and data to inform our food security projections made using scenario development, FEWS NET’s methodology to develop food security projections. Nutrition information is a key piece of evidence used to make the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) for an area. In addition, FEWS NET makes assumptions about the evolution of acute malnutrition based on analysis of the causes of undernutrition and factors that are likely to influence future nutrition outcomes.
Several factors can drive acute malnutrition, and it is possible for high levels of acute malnutrition to exist in areas not experiencing acute food insecurity. However, if a significant portion of a population experiences large and prolonged food consumption gaps (deficits), these conditions would likely result in high levels of acute malnutrition and, eventually, elevated mortality levels.
The overarching goal for nutrition is to develop an in-depth nutrition knowledge base and fully integrate nutritional information into FEWS NET's early warning and food security analysis.