Alan Berg (nutritionist)

Alan D. Berg (born February 18, 1932) is an American international development authority, most notable for his advocacy and large-scale implementation of strategies to address malnutrition, especially among children and pregnant women.[1] Berg’s professional focus on nutrition spans more than half a century and has earned him wide recognition for stimulating a new policy approach to international nutrition assistance.[2] His work has helped to transform the way development agencies and national governments think about the problem of malnutrition as a fundamental component of economic growth. His innovative planning and multisectoral operational work, particularly during his long tenure as the senior nutrition officer at the World Bank (1972–95), have modeled a number of practices that other donor institutions and countries now often incorporate into their own projects. Furthermore, Berg’s efforts to transform development assistance for nutrition have prompted a number of academic training programs for nutritionists to expand their curriculum to include coursework in nutrition policy, planning, and implementation, creating a new career path for graduates.[3] In a 1997 survey of the international nutrition community,[4] Berg was the one most often cited as a role model for young persons entering the field.[5] In 2008, the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition honored Berg as one of the first recipients of the United Nations Achievement Award for Lifelong Service to Nutrition, citing him at the presentation as “a global giant in nutrition history.[6]

This biography of a living personneeds additional citations for verification. (September 2021)
Alan Berg
Born (1932-02-18) February 18, 1932 (age 89)

Known for International nutrition

. . . Alan Berg (nutritionist) . . .

Berg began his public service in nutrition as a staff member and then Deputy Director of the White House Food for Peace program under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. As Deputy Director (with the rank of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State), he also co-chaired the first White House Task Force on Nutrition, which explored the possibility of a role for the government in international nutrition assistance beyond disaster relief and institutional feeding programs.

Berg was then recruited by Ambassador Chester Bowles to come to India to work with the Indian government as head of the U.S. government’s first national-scale, multifaceted nutrition project. In India, Berg found an opportunity to test the broad recommendations he had developed with the White House Task Force on Nutrition. His work in India included direction of the extensive food aid program, creation of that country’s food and pharmaceutical industry association to address malnutrition, introduction of social marketing techniques designed to change consumer behavior in nutritionally beneficial ways, and a number of innovative efforts to fortify food staples there with vitamins and minerals.[7] Berg also initiated in 1969 the concept of Double Fortified Salt, adding iron as well as iodine to common salt, with the aim of reducing iron deficiency anemia without requiring changes in dietary practices.[8]

When famine struck India in 1966-67, he coordinated a massive food aid distribution effort that is recognized as saving millions of lives.[9] That timely intervention earned Berg the U.S. government’s annual award as the Outstanding Young Civil Servant in 1968. Lester Brown, often a critic of U.S. policies, later praised that relief effort: “For the United States, this was one of our finest moments.”[10]

During his appointment in India, Berg published in Foreign Affairs, “Malnutrition and National Development,” the first in a series of influential articles and books arguing the case for inclusion of nutrition on the international development agenda.[11] The writings cited evidence from numerous countries on the deleterious effect of malnutrition, not only on child development and mortality, but also on the economic growth potential of individuals and nations.

. . . Alan Berg (nutritionist) . . .

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. . . Alan Berg (nutritionist) . . .