Essential Nutrition Actions: mainstreaming nutrition throughout the life course
Primary health care is the foundation of universal health coverage; it is a whole-of-society approach to health and well-being, centred on the needs and preferences of individuals, families and communities. Nutrition is a foundation for health and well-being for all, leaving no one behind, and a critical component of primary health care, through its promotion and prevention, addressing its determinants, and a people-centred approach.
Healthier populations are achieved through multisectoral actions that are not limited to health systems alone, though often using the stewardship, advocacy and regulatory functions of health ministries. Optimal nutrition for individual health and development bridges interventions by health systems to improve the health of populations.
Interventions addressing health through the life-course (covering women, men, infants, children, adolescents and older persons) contribute to the delivery of integrated primary health care. A life-course approach is critical to operationalize the worldwide commitment to people-centred primary health care.
This publication’s primary purpose is to provide a compilation of actions to address malnutrition in all its forms, in a concise and user-friendly format to help in decision-making processes for integration of nutrition interventions in national health policies, strategies, and plans based on country-specific needs and global priorities.