Nutrition (An Introduction)

Inadequate maternal and child nutrition is the underlying cause of 3.5 million child deaths every year and approximately 45 percent of mortality of children under 5 years of age. Investments in nutrition have a high benefit-cost ratio of 16 to 1.

This course discusses the basic concepts of good nutrition and common nutritional deficiencies, the magnitude of malnutrition in different populations, vulnerable groups and the causes of undernutrition, and key indicators and ways of measuring them. It also outlines the major population-based interventions to improve nutritional status.


After completing this course the reader should be able to:

  • Describe the basic concepts of good nutrition
  • Identify the major nutritional deficiencies and their relative importance
  • Explain nutrition in terms of a life cycle process and the importance of the crucial "1,000 days" window of opportunity
  • Describe the synergistic relationship between infection and nutrition
  • Identify the major target groups for nutrition interventions
  • Identify the underlying and basic determinants of maluntrition - using the USAID Conceptual Framework
  • Describe the rationale and implications of a multi-sectoral approach to improving nutrition results
  • Identify nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions
  • Identify nutrition impact and outcome indicators used in global nutrition programs
  • Describe the importance of major international and USAID initiatives and programs to improving nutrition worldwide