Animal Sourced Foods (ASF): Evidence on Stunting and Programmes to Increase Consumption

7th August 2019
Author: Laura Bolton

Animal source foods (ASF) are an important source of nutrients. They are a particularly good source of iron and zinc which prevents stunting. The main factors affecting ASF consumption that were discussed in the literature identified were nutritional knowledge, price, and livestock production. Broader links between poverty and ASF were not discussed within the scope of this report. Nutritional knowledge should first be assessed before education programmes are devised. Many communities have nutritional knowledge and the cost of ASFs was found to be the biggest barrier. Price ratios show how unaffordable ASFs are in poorer regions. Livestock production tends to be positively associated with increased ASF consumption. Increased risk of diseases passed on by animals should be considered. Information may also need to be given so that breast-feeding is not replaced by milk consumption in households that own cows. A small number of intervention evidence was identified in this rapid review though the list is unlikely to be exhaustive. ASF consumption was found to increase in Nepal following a poverty alleviation programme with a focus on livestock production. A health and nutrition education programme in India found a significant increase in egg consumption. A school-feeding programme which supplemented children with eggs found positive results on stunting. There are concerns over the environmental impact of animal production which warrant attention. There wasn’t scope within this report to explore ASF alternatives which may also improve stunting.

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Suggested Citation

Bolton, L. (2019). Animal sourced foods (ASF): evidence on stunting and programmes to increase consumption. K4D Helpdesk Report 651. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


7th August 2019


Continent: Global