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Symposium: Ensuring children’s cognitive and physical
development through animal source foods

June 5, 2019

Capitol Hill Club, 300 First St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Well-nourished populations, especially women and children, are the central focus of efforts to nurture development and increase resilience of vulnerable households and communities. With more than one in four of its 856 million people undernourished, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the world’s most food-insecure region. In the six African countries where the Innovation Lab works, societies are mostly rural and up to 80% of the populations depend on livestock for their livelihoods. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems adopts an inter-disciplinary and applied research approach that sustainably increases animal-source food production and consumption to improve the nutrition and resilience of the poor, and ultimately contribute to strengthening the social and institutional capacities in these countries.


The symposium will explore the realities, implications, and impacts of chronic malnutrition, which leads to stunting or reduced height for age. It will emphasize that increased attention should be given to understanding and exploiting the benefits and minimizing risks associated with consumption of animal-source foods (ASF), i.e. meat, cheese, milk and eggs, by the vulnerable, especially children and women.  It will also discuss the importance of addressing complementary factors that influence stunting such as Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH), gut health, and animal-source food contaminants like aflatoxin and food borne-pathogens.

Symposium Objectives:

  1. Explore the realities, implications, and impacts of chronic malnutrition, which leads to stunting and may reduce cognitive and physical development leading to lifelong economic impacts.
  2. Examine the evidence that consumption of animal-source foods reduces chronic malnutrition.  
  3. Identify critical factors that must be addressed to ensure the success of animal source-food interventions to reduce chronic malnutrition.
  4. Review the availability, access and affordability of animal-source foods as well as strategic messaging to increase their consumption.
  5. Discuss how the US Government and other donors can support integration of animal-source food consumption into national policy implementation.
  6. Discuss how private sector partnerships and platforms can impact the availability, affordability, and safety of animal-source foods.


Speakers' Brief Biographies in order of appearance (PDF)

Featured speakers:

  • Congressman Ted Yoho, United States Representative for Florida's 3rd congressional district 
  • Dr. Montague Demment, Vice President International Programs, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
  • Dr. John McPeak, Professor, Department of Public Administration and International Affairs, Syracuse University
  • Dr. Laurie C. Miller, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Adjunct Professor of Nutrition and of Child Development, Tufts University
  • Dr. Lora Iannotti, Associate Dean for Public Health and Associate Professor, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis 
  • Dr. Sarah McKune, Associate Professor, Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida (UF)
  • Dr. Arie Havelaar, Professor, Emerging Pathogens Institute and Animal Sciences, UF
  • Dr. Geoffrey Dahl, Harriet B. Weeks Professor of Animal Sciences, UF
  • Dr. Sara Place, Senior Director of Sustainable Beef Production Research, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
  • Dr. Felicia Wu, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University
  • Dr. Derek Headey, Senior Research Fellow International Food Policy Research Institute

Program for Symposium on June 5, Washington, DC (PDF)

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#060115.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.