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  • Stephan Voss

FoodSAMSA: Official launch of the website

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

The FoodSAMSA project conducts research to improve local food environments in South Africa using a syndemic approach. Learn more about the team behind the project and get up to speed with the latest news as well as social media updates on the official website which has now been launched:

The 3-year project is a partnership between LMU Munich, the Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa at the University of Cape Town (CDIA/UCT), the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

The project aims to address all forms of malnutrition, including over- and undernutrition. Malnutrition is considered the main risk factor for premature death and disease worldwide. About 20% of the burden of disease and all premature deaths worldwide are due to nutrition-related risk factors, including malnutrition and unhealthy diets.

FoodSAMSA consists of three pillars addressing the determinants of dietary behaviour at macro (policy), meso (setting) and micro (interpersonal) levels, and three cross-cutting components including complex systems mapping, integrated knowledge translation, and capacity and network building.

In many low- and middle-income countries, the different forms of malnutrition coexist and interact with each other, both within households and communities and over the course of individuals' lives. The term double burden of malnutrition (DBM) was coined to describe the co-existence of undernutrition and overnutrition - an example of a syndemic, i.e. a series of epidemics that occur simultaneously in time and place, interact with each other in complex patterns, share common systemic drivers and require concerted and coordinated responses.

The project aims to adapt existing approaches to the study and improvement of food environments to the contexts typical of countries with DBM, apply these adapted approaches in South Africa, and strengthen capacities and expand existing regional networks to support research and activities on food environments and systems in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, participatory research will be conducted to develop models of different parts of the South African food system and test and evaluate interventions to improve local food environments. In addition, methods of integrated knowledge translation are used to engage relevant stakeholders, such as policy makers and industry and civil society actors, in order to maximise the benefits of our research for policy and practice.


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