Bridging the gap in adolescent nutrition education

By Dr. Marion Roche, Senior Technical Advisor for Adolescent and Women’s Health and Nutrition

Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia Course

Nutrition International launched a free online course titled Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia to help fill a gap in knowledge and education and to support action in this very important area.

Although adolescent health is gaining recognition globally as an area that requires attention, there is currently no one-stop-shop for information about adolescent nutrition and anaemia. In fact, most graduate nutrition programs have very little emphasis placed on adolescent nutrition. There is a need for greater focus on, and more resources allocated to, improving nutrition for adolescents around the world as this is a critical period of growth and development.

Bridging the gap

Nutrition International’s online course on Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia helps bridge this gap.

After identifying the significant gap in knowledge and formal education or training in adolescent nutrition and anaemia among our own staff and partners, we wanted to help build capacity to improve nutrition for adolescents around the globe. That’s why we’ve launched a free online course titled Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia. We worked with experts in the field, learning specialists and course designers to develop this thorough course for more than a year in order to bring the highest caliber information in an easy-to-use video format for use by adolescent nutrition program officers, implementers, partners, nutrition graduate students, policy makers and decision makers.

Improve nutrition for adolescents globally

Nutrition International is a leader in developing and implementing programs to improve adolescent nutrition and help girls feel empowered by providing them with access to information to understand their growth, development and nutrition so they can be advocates for their own health.

The knowledge acquired through this course will build the capacity of individuals and organizations to better understand and address the nutrition of adolescents.

Why adolescents?

Globally, adolescents―particularly girls―are greatly affected by malnutrition, partly due to their specific biological needs. However, they are often missed by health and nutrition interventions, as until recently they have not been viewed as a priority for health and nutrition.

There is much potential for adolescents if proper nutrition and healthy habits can be established at this critical period in their growth and development.

After the first 1,000 days of life, adolescence is the most rapid period of growth and development and offers a window of opportunity for interventions to improve nutrition.

Why anaemia?

Iron deficiency anaemia is recognized as the number one cause of disability adjusted life years―defined as one lost year of optimal health―in adolescent girls 10 to 19 years of age globally, and for boys 10 to 14 years of age.

Anaemia is an indicator of both poor nutrition and poor health and results in negative health consequences, including decreases in potential school performance in children and adolescents due to slowed cognitive and socioemotional development and difficulties in concentration. Anaemia can also lead to decreased productivity or participation of adolescents―and for pregnant adolescents, there can be negative birth outcomes for the mother and her baby.

Online at your own pace

Registration is now open for the free, online course. The course is divided into three sections of five video modules each. The first section of videos will be released every two weeks starting September 12.

The video modules can be taken at your own pace. Topics covered range from an overview of adolescence, to impacts of anaemia on women and adolescent girls, and more in depth scientific knowledge of iron deficiency anaemia. It also covers interventions to improve adolescent nutrition and reduce anaemia, and global guidelines and guidance for improving adolescent nutrition and adolescent pregnancy. The course also covers partnerships and programs to address this area, examples from Nutrition International’s programs, sexual reproductive health programs and more on the link between nutrition and education. Finally, the course addresses monitoring and assessing adolescent nutrition programs, data gaps and research needed and best practices in engaging adolescents.

More information on the free registration and the Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia course full syllabus are available on our website.

Marion Roche headshot

Dr. Marion Roche

Senior Technical Advisor, Adolescents’ and Women’s Health and Nutrition

Dr. Marion Roche is Nutrition International’s Senior Technical Advisor for Adolescents’ and Women’s Health and Nutrition, responsible for research and programming in the scale-up of interventions to improve the health and nutrition of adolescent girls and women of reproductive age. She has a PhD in Nutrition, an MPH in Global Health and an MSc in Nutrition. Marion joined Nutrition International in 2011.

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