Nutrition in emergencies: Do we know what works?

Patrick Webb, Erin Boyd, Saskia de Pee, Lindsey Lenters, Martin Bloem, Werner Schultink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Nutrition actions in emergencies continue to be critical to mortality reduction and to achieving broader humanitarian as well as livelihood goals in institutionally fragile environments. In the past decade, numerous innovations have enhanced the prevention and treatment of many forms of malnutrition; these include wider adoption of new food products, protocols for their use, and programming guidelines. The quality and scale of interventions has improved despite many challenges, resulting in fewer avoidable deaths and growing success in the management of severe and moderate wasting, as well as micronutrient deficiencies. Indeed, many lessons learned in emergencies have the potential to inform non-emergency programming. As such, there is a need for more explicit attention to emergency needs and activities in global target-setting developmental agendas. However, as caseloads and costs continue to grow, there are calls for more evidence-based guidance on the best combination of approaches to use in different contexts. Best practice is still constrained by evidence gaps, due in large part to the difficulties of research in humanitarian contexts. Nevertheless, sound empirical research must be prioritized on the efficacy, effectiveness and costs of various single and combined approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalFood Policy
Issue numberP1
StatePublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS)
  • Micronutrient deficiencies
  • Micronutrient powders (MNPs)
  • Nutrition in emergencies
  • Ready-to-use foods (RUFs)
  • Ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs)
  • Wasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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