On March 5, 2024, the Faculty of Economics and Rural Development of Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA) in collaboration with the University of Bonn (Germany) hosted a workshop titled "Decision Analysis Approach in Food Environment Research" at VNUA. The workshop was a part of activities of the "Nutrition Intervention Forecasting and Monitoring (NIFAM)” project, funded by the University of Bonn. VNUA is one of the main partners of this project in Vietnam. At VNUA,  Associate Professor, Ph.D. Pham Van Hung, a faculty member of the Faculty of Economics and Rural Development, is a  project leader of VNUA team.

In the workshop, there are a number of participants and stakeholders from different institutions and arganizations, including Dr. Cory Whitney and Dr. Simone Kriesemer from the University of Bonn, co-Project Coordinators; Associate Professor, Ph.D. Nguyen Thi Minh Hien, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Rural Development at VNUA; Associate Professor, Ph.D. Nguyen Do Huy, a department head and nutrition expert from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Hanoi National University; Associate Professor, Ph.D. Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy, a food safety expert from VNUA; as well as members of the project partners from VNUA, University of Public Health (HUPH), Social Policy Ecology Research Institute (SPERI), Center for Organic Agriculture Development Support (CODAS), Fruit and Vegetable Research Institute (FAVRI), and the Center for Children and Development (CCD).

During the workshop, Associate Professor Ph.D. Pham Van Hung and Dr. Cory Whitney delivered opening remarks, presenting the NIFAM project and outlining the workshop's goals. These included identifying and implementing cost-effective nutrition interventions to sustainably improve the food environment, gradually reducing the impact of nutritional issues on public health, and gathering expert opinions from various fields on the food environment.

Associate Professor Ph.D. Pham Van Hung, the leader of the NIFAM project at VNUA, delivered the opening speech at the workshop

Associate Professor Ph.D. Nguyen Thi Minh Hien, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Rural Development, delivered a welcome speech at the workshop.

Dr. Cory Whitney introduced the decision analysis approach to the food environment research. This method will facilitate the identification, modeling, and monitoring of nutrition interventions, along with proposing policy recommendations to enhance these interventions and reduce malnutrition through various strategies. Potential interventions within the NIFAM project aim to improve food safety by disseminating information to various stakeholders. This could include broadcasting short films on television, implementing nutritional labeling on products, restricting marketing aimed at children, and customizing online learning platforms for specific regions.

Dr. Cory Whitney, from the University of Bonn in Germany and the Project Coordinator, introduced the project and its interventions.

At the workshop, Associate Professor Ph.D. Nguyen Do Huy and Associate Professor Ph.D. Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy presented information on healthy food, the food environment, and consumer access to healthy food in Vietnam, with a specific focus on Hanoi. They highlighted that access to, use of, and consumption of healthy food are influenced by many factors, with consumer awareness, behavior, and practices being the most crucial. The experts also emphasized that to change consumer behavior, efforts must concentrate on communication activities and education to enhance people's understanding of nutritional knowledge. However, altering the behavior of adult consumers is particularly challenging. Moreover, the project members and experts discussed interventions aimed at promoting communication activities, especially targeting young children (such as preschool and primary school students), to achieve fundamental changes in nutrition in Vietnam.

Experts participated in the workshop to discuss healthy food and the food environment

The workshop is a pivotal activity within the NIFAM Project, serving as the foundation for the project's research team to construct a decision analysis model and suggest suitable interventions. This effort aims to make a meaningful contribution to enhancing nutrition in each meal for individuals in the near future.

Participants of the workshop taking photos 

 Pham Van Hung, Ninh Xuan Trung, Bui Thi Khanh Hoa,

Faculty of Economics and Rural Development.