The economic and social costs of malnutrition are enormous and major international efforts are underway to address the underlying problems.
Nuclear science — most often associated with things like X rays, radiation therapy, or nuclear power plants — is today being used by countries around the world to identify nutritional problems and to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is leading the way, providing assistance and support to developing countries to:
— verify the nature of the nutritional problem;
— monitor the effectiveness and reduce costs of nutrition programmes;
— serve as early indicators of important long term health improvements; and
— determine environmental conditions and assess the consequences on human
health and nutritional status.
The goal of these programmes is to build the capacity needed in developing countries to use nuclear techniques to address nutritional problems. The IAEA builds this capacity by training scientists through fellowships and workshops, supports expert missions, and provides needed equipment through Co-ordinated Research Projects (CRPs) and Technical Co-operation (TC). The Agency also promotes post-graduate (PhD) level research and training in nutrition.
The IAEA provides assistance through Co-ordinated Research Projects (CRPs) that encourage institutes to collaborate on well-defined research projects.
Designed to help developing countries adapt state-of-the art techniques to their particular situation, CRPs are promoting high quality research on nutrition in countries around the world (shown in red).
Technical Co-operation Projects (TC) work to build scientific and technical capacity and supporting infrastructure in developing countries.
Nuclear techniques have been transferred to developing countries around the world (shown in green) to help them identify their nutritional problems and evaluate the effectiveness of their intervention programmes.
The results are being used to improve national policies and strategies on human nutrition.