The conceptual framework drawn on by the FSNAU Nutrition project focuses on the key factors that influence nutritional status. Fragile socio-economic and political environment, food insecurity, unfavorable care practices and health environment lead to a cycle of malnutrition and further inadequate in-take of energy and other nutrients. Poor nutritional status or malnutrition results from a complex set of elements and not one simple cause. Access to an adequate diet has to be combined with better maternal health and child care practices, access to healthcare and environmental health. The socio-economic and political environment influence food, care and health.
This particular framework supports decision makers in understanding the factors influencing nutritional vulnerability and malnutrition and therefore addresses both underlying and direct factors that influence nutrition. Within the FSNAU Food Security Analysis System, nutrition status serves as a vital indicator of the overall wellbeing of populations and facilitates a very broad analysis of all aspects of food security. Deterioration in nutritional status can be an early indicator of impending hardship if interpreted together with disease and food security patterns based on the livelihood systems of a given community. Continuous analysis of the nutrition situation combined with other indicators e.g. food security, can help to identify the stages of a drought process and the response of the population to events around them. It also gives indication of the impact of interventions implemented. Because nutrition information is information about people, it allows an analysis that facilitates the development of interventions that have both short and long term influence on population well being.