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The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on diet quality, food security and nutrition in low and middle income countries: A systematic review of the evidence

Clinical Nutrition Picchioni, F., Goulao, L. F., Roberfroid, D. 2021-8-27
Article on how COVID-19 affects diets, nutrition, and food security. The study conducted a systematic literature review and retrieved grey literature by screening a pre-set list of institutions involved in monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nutrition and food security. Out of the 2,085 references identified, 35 primary studies were included. In spite of their heterogeneity, studies converged to demonstrate a detrimental effect of COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment measures on diet quality and food insecurity. One of the major direct effects of COVID-19 on food and nutrition outcomes was through its impact on employment, income generating activities and associated purchasing power. Other channels of impact, such as physical access, availability and affordability of food provided a heterogeneous picture and were assessed via binary and often simplistic questions. The impacts of COVID-19 on food systems and diets manifested with various intensity degrees, duration and in different forms. Factors contributing to these variations between and within countries were: 1) timing, duration and stringency of national COVID-19 restriction measures and policies to mitigate their adverse impacts; 2) context specific food value chain responses to domestic and international containment measures; 3) differentiated impacts of restriction measures on different groups, along lines of gender, age, socio-economic status and employment conditions. Shorter value chains and traditional smallholder farms were somewhat more resilient in the face of COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the impact of the pandemic had been particularly adverse on women, individuals with a low socio-economic status, informal workers and young adults that relied on daily wages. Finally, there were heterogeneous government responses to curb the virus and to mitigate the damaging effects of the pandemic. It had been demonstrated that existing and well-functioning social protection programmes and public distribution of food can buffer the adverse effects on food insecurity. But social safety nets cannot be effective on their own and there is a need for broader food systems interventions and investments to support sustainable and inclusive food systems to holistically achieve food and nutrition security.
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Economic
  • Food Insecurity
  • Gender and/or Agency
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Women and/or Girls
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Bangladesh
  • Ethiopia
  • Global
  • India
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kenya
  • Latin America
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Oceania
  • Senegal
  • South Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Uganda
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia
  • Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)
  • Adults (men and/or women 19+ years old)
  • Children (boys and/or girls 1-10 years old)
  • Children <5 years old
  • Girls (adolescents and/or children)
  • Households
  • Mothers
  • Women (adults and/or adolescents)
  • Research
  • Article
  • Scientific Publication/Journal article

Highlighted Sources

Act now before Ukraine war plunges millions into malnutrition

  • Advocacy
  • Policy
  • Research
  • Policy Guidance Document
  • Scientific Publication/Journal article
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Economic
  • Education
  • Food Insecurity
  • Gender and/or Agency
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Other Crises
  • Social Support and Protection
  • Ukraine War
  • Women and/or Girls
2022-4-21
Article on the impact of the Ukraine war on global malnutrition, laying out the elements contributing to this worldwide nutrition crisis including the disproportionate effects on women and children. It puts forward five urgent actions to be taken by governments, donors, and others to protect current and future generations from the devastating effects of malnutrition as well as to prevent acute food insecurity. View Source

Economic shocks predict increases in child wasting prevalence

  • Research
  • Article
  • Scientific Publication/Journal article
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Economic
  • Food Insecurity
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Other Crises
  • Social Support and Protection
2022-04-20
Article on the impact of severe negative economic shock on child acute malnutrition (wasting), a major risk factor for under-5 mortality. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) macroeconomic volatility is common, and severe negative economic shocks can substantially increase poverty and food insecurity. Less well understood are the implications of these contractions for child wasting. This study explores the nutritional impacts of economic growth shocks over 1990–2018 by linking wasting outcomes collected for 1.256 million children from 52 countries to lagged annual changes in economic growth. Estimates suggest that a 10% annual decline in national income increases moderate/severe wasting prevalence by 14.4–17.8%. An exploration of possible mechanisms suggests negative economic shocks may increase risks of inadequate dietary diversity among children. Applying these results to the latest economic growth estimates for 2020 suggests that COVID-19 could put an additional 9.4 million preschoolers at risk of wasting, net of the effects of preventative policy actions. View Source

Assessing and mitigating the impact of shocks on food security and nutrition in the Asia Pacific region: Lessons from the COVID-19 response for informing the Global Food Crisis response

  • Policy
  • Research
  • Brief
  • Policy Guidance Document
  • Report
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Economic
  • Food Insecurity
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Other Crises
  • Social Support and Protection
  • Ukraine War
  • Women and/or Girls
2022-7
Report on assessing and mitigating the impact of shocks on food security and nutrition in the Asia Pacific region to obtain lessons from the COVID-19 response for informing the Global Food Crises response. It lays out a series of studies undertaken by WFP and partners to better understand the realities of the food security and nutrition landscape since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. These are based on experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, where WFP has continually assessed household vulnerability to food and nutrition insecurity through monitoring surveys, while simultaneously providing technical assistance and operations support for programs in response to the pandemic in the Asia Pacific region. In addition to WFP’s food security monitoring reports and data made available from WFP’s Fill the Nutrient Gap analyses, this brief utilizes secondary data relevant to the crisis, as well as four documents recently published by WFP and its partners. While the focus of this brief is on the COVID-19 crisis, its lessons can be applied now and into the future. Other types of covariate shocks will create compounding problems for countries. View Source