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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Capacity development in food composition database management and nutritional research and education in Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and North African countries

Gurinovic, M.; Witthoft, C. M.; Tepsic, J.; Ranic, M.; Hulshof, P. J. M.; Hollman, P. C.; Porubska, J.; Gohar, A.; Debeljak-Martacic, J.; Petrovic-Oggiano, G.; Novakovic, R.; Glibetic, M.; Oshaug, A.


Background/Objectives: Capacity development (CD) in food and nutrition is much more than formal training and includes human resource development, and organisational, institutional and legal framework development with the aim of enhancing nutrition-relevant knowledge and skills to support infrastructural development. The goal of the European Food Information Resource (EuroFIR) Network of Excellence has been to develop and integrate food composition data throughout Europe. EuroFIR joined forces in CD with the United Nations (UN) University and UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition, the Network for Capacity Development in Nutrition in Central and Eastern Europe, the Central and Eastern European Countries Food Data Systems network and with the Middle East and North African Capacity Building Initiative. The aim of this paper is to discuss an inventory of the status of food composition databases (FCDBs) and the training needs of compilers in non-EuroFIR countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and to present the CD achieved through EuroFIR and other network collaborations.Subjects/Methods: Two online questionnaires were created addressing the FCDB status and specific training needs in countries of the targeted regions. Data were collected during 2006-2008 and then analysed. Subsequently, CD activities were organised.Results: Contacts were established in 19 CEE and 7 MENA countries, of which several had national food composition tables, but no electronic versions. Education, training, workshops, networking and the sharing of experiences were uniformly requested. Subsequently, CD activities in EuroFIR were organised focussing on food composition courses, exchange visits, workshops and individual training for PhD students, junior scientists and other staff categories, as well as conferences linked to food composition research and food information. To facilitate CD activities, EuroFIR has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Estonia.Conclusions: EuroFIR has created training activities that complement national activities. Collaboration with other networks has provided an overview of FCDB status and training needs, providing directions for CD activities in those countries. This provides a platform for new funding and further development and networking for CD, which would be conducive to European Commission objectives and public health strategies for CD. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010) 64, S134-S138; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.224


capacity development; food composition database; EuroFIR

Published in

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
2010, volume: 64, number: Supplement 3, pages: S134-S138

Authors' information

Gurinovic, Mirjana
Witthöft, Cornelia
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Food Science
Tepsic, Jasna
University of Belgrade
Hulshof, Paul J M
Ranic, Marija
University of Belgrade
Hollman, Peter C
Porubska, Janka
Gohar, Azza
National Nutrition Institute Cairo
Debeljak-Martacic, Jasmina
University of Belgrade
Petrović-Oggiano, Gordana
University of Belgrade
Novaković, Romana
University of Belgrade
Glibetic, Marija
University of Belgrade
Oshaug, Arne
Akershus University College

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger
SDG4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
SDG9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

UKÄ Subject classification

Food Science

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