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

Throughout Gender Equality Week, CCIC will highlight the work that some of our members are doing to advance gender equality. This blog post has been written by Dr. Marion Roche, Senior Technical Advisor for Adolescent and Women’s Health and Nutrition, with Nutrition International.

After the first 1,000 days, adolescence is the most rapid period of growth and development. It is also a period when lifestyle and dietary habits can be formed and offers a window of opportunity for interventions to improve nutrition at this critical period. Despite this, adolescents are often missed by health and nutrition interventions, as until recently they had not been viewed as a priority.

This is especially true for adolescent girls, who are particularly affected by malnutrition, partly due to their specific biological needs.

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

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. For adolescent girls, this can mean challenges focusing in school and a lack of energy to participate in community or household activities, therefore disrupting their educational opportunities and economic empowerment. In addition, should an adolescent girl become pregnant, iron deficiency anaemia can put both the mother and her baby at great health risk.

Although the importance of adolescent health and the devastating impacts of iron deficiency anaemia have been acknowledged globally, there is currently no one-stop-shop for information about adolescent nutrition and anaemia. 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. Nutrition International’s online course on Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia helps bridge this knowledge gap.

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, health providers, policy makers and decision makers.

We’re thrilled at the enthusiasm that has been shown for the course already, as well as the positive feedback we’ve received. The knowledge acquired through this course will build the capacity of individuals and organizations to better understand and address the nutrition of adolescents, ultimately working to overcome gender inequalities and to improve nutrition for adolescents.

We must build our global capacity to support girls to feel empowered to have access to adequate health and nutrition, to have equal opportunity to receive quality education and to eventually participate in the workforce.

More information on the free registration and the Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia Course full syllabus is available at our website here

Marion Roche

Marion Roche

Senior Technical Advisor for Adolescent and Women’s Health and Nutrition

Marion Roche joined Nutrition International in 2011 and is the Senior Technical Advisor for Adolescent and Women’s Health and Nutrition. In her role, Marion supports and provides strategic direction to Nutrition International’s programs that advocate, build capacity, and generate evidence to improve adolescent girls’ and women’s health and nutrition.

Marion leads the design, introduction, scale-up and evaluation of adolescent nutrition interventions – a growing area of interest and investment, globally.

Marion works with national governments and partners to strengthen access to delivery platforms for adolescent and women’s nutrition interventions, including weekly iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation to prevent anaemia. Her goal is to support adolescent girls and women to thrive and be valued.

With over 12 years of experience in public health nutrition program implementation, and implementation research, Marion has worked extensively to improve maternal, infant and child nutrition with a focus on innovative interventions.

Marion has expertise in behaviour change communication, community and global nutrition, infant and young child feeding, intervention design and evaluation, implementation research, qualitative research and social marketing. She has a PhD in Nutrition, a MPH in Global Health and a MSc Nutrition.