In 2015, Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition (MQSUN) provided support to the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) to review the current scale of urbanisation and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) and the predicted trends up to 2030, to appraise what works in urban settings and how this context differs from the rural context with regard to nutrition programming and to ascertain the primary research gaps. The review identified effective nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions for tackling undernutrition within the urban context. From these interventions, MQSUN recommended key nutrition actions for health, agriculture, social protection and physical environment that should be implemented at scale, as well as where evidence is limited to support essential nutrition action.
The methods for the review included an initial scoping of the literature according to a set of identified workstreams; a compilation of statistical data related to urbanisation and nutrition from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN ESA), United Nations Human Resettlements Programme (UN Habitat), World Health Organization and World Bank; a rapid review of published and unpublished materials related to both interventions and causal pathways for urbanisation and nutrition; and an assessment of the volume and quality of evidence related to nutrition programming within an urban context. The results of this review will be key to supporting programming and policy related to urban nutrition.