International Summit on the Nutrition of Adolescent Girls and Young Women

May 14-17, 2015  Portland, Oregon

 Young girls

The Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness hosted the International Summit on the Nutrition of Adolescent Girls and Young Women May 14-17, 2015 in Portland, Ore. The summit broke new ground in worldwide efforts to improve the nutrition of adolescent girls, young women, pregnant and lactating women and their infants.

The goal of the summit was to build new and enduring bridges between nutrition scientists and nutrition practitioners in developing countries. At present, few organizational structures exist to facilitate interaction between these groups, resulting in gaps between advances in nutrition research and the application of emerging knowledge to shape programs for undernourished populations.

Maternal and child undernutrition is the underlying cause of some 3.5 million deaths annually and accounts for more than a third of the disease burden in children younger than five. Research over the past few decades clearly shows that chronic diseases like diabetes and heart problems can be prevented in future generations if women have access to a nutritious diet before, during and after pregnancy. This is because the origins of many chronic diseases begin during development in the womb and continue during the first 1,000 days following conception.

During adolescence and for a few years beyond, young women need to build strong and healthy bodies.  Not only will good nutrition during that time of life be important for their long-term health, it will improve the health of their offspring if they become pregnant.  Poor nutrition and the difficult social conditions faced by many young women have been neglected in numerous regions of the world.  This summit will consider the root causes of these problems.

The invitation-only summit included world-renowned leaders from around the globe, including representatives from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Zambia, Uganda, England, Canada, Jamaica, Mexico, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand and Chile. Summit participants will include government representatives, major international aid organizations and researchers from major international universities. An executive committee (see right) of national and international leaders worked with the Moore Institute to identify participants and plan the summit.

Participants engaged in open discussion to begin to develop a consensus document that captures research and programmatic and policy recommendations that address:
  • Major gaps in knowledge related to young women and maternal nutrition
  • How food availability and food choices among girls and young women can be improved
  • What international policies and practices would benefit the status of women across the globe and improve their access to nutritious food