Improved nutrition is an important part of improved health, and therefore of target 16 of the 38 targets for health for all adopted by the Member States of the WHO European Region. During my travels in the Region, I often meet colleagues working in nutrition in the community. In my discussions with them, they often say that their job as nutrition educators, counsellors, planners and advocates is so enormous as almost to overwhelm them. It certainly is. Dealing with food and nutrition is a task that involves many sectors and actors, and concerns everyone.
In addition, my colleagues often feel that the pressures of their work, the expectations of the people they serve and the tasks they are given would be easier to handle if made part of an overall plan. This sparked the idea to invite people working in community nutrition to attend workshops at which they could study systematic management theory, relate it to their work and, not least, learn from one another.
Arne Oshaug, who has many years of experience as a nutrition teacher and who has worked in all parts of the food chain, conducted the three workshops held so far (in 1987, 1988 and 1990), and felt it important to share the experience of the course participants and the process of the workshops with a wide audience. He has built the course results into the basis for a manual from which all people working in community nutrition (whether experienced or not) can teach themselves to plan ahead in order to get a firmer grip on what they are doing.
This manual is intended to be used, written in, discussed and debated. If you, the user, can think of ways to improve it, please send you suggestions to the author or the Nutrition Unit at the WHO Regional Office for Europe.