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Feed the Future



Human Health and Nutrition

The goal of improving human health and nutrition, broadly speaking, provides inspiration for conducting research with real-world effects. Moreover, addressing malnutrition and the needs of underprivileged people in developing countries provide continuous challenges.

Effects of malnutrition appear across a spectrum of levels, ranging from individual children to nations and international regions. Poor nutrition has direct, negative impacts on household productivity, education levels, and income-earning potential, and good nutrition is essential for sustainable economic growth. In developing countries, growth in the agricultural sector has demonstrated greater reduction in stunting than economic growth in the nonagricultural sector.

Livestock Production

Livestock holders are more likely than their non-holding counterparts to consume animal-source foods because of their proximity to the nutrient-rich foods. Three specific pathways, though not linear, allow for livestock production to affect nutrition: food production, income generation, and women’s empowerment. Through each of these pathways, which contribute to a complex web of relationships, the livestock system ultimately affects nutrient intake and health status—the immediate determinants of nutrition.

Although nearly two-thirds of rural, resource-poor households are livestock holders, most poor rural families remain net purchasers of food rather than producers. Access to these foods has immediate health benefits when the foods are consumed and may nutritionally and economically buffer families through the dry season when grain availability is limited and costly.

Integrating Nutrition & Gender into Research

Created for researchers, this video series shares guidance on how to design and accomplish projects that incorporate nutrition and gender issues, which are becoming standard requirements for research for development projects.

Journal Articles

McKune, S., Lane, J., Flax, V., Ouma, E., Austin-Datta, R., Williams, R., Moore, E., Jacobs, M. and Turk, J. 2020. Making livestock research and programming more nutrition sensitive. Global Food Security, Volume 26, 100430.


The Human Health and Nutrition team is led by Dr. Sarah McKune.

 Sarah McKune

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems

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This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for 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. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.