Celebrating 5 Years of ARoFIIN
Professor Jeyakumar Henry, Deputy Executive Director of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) and Director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) in Singapore, looks back on the achievements and partnerships ARoFIIN have made over the years, and shares the direction of the organisation moving forward.
5 years ago, we launched the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN), a joint effort by the Health Promotion Board (HPB), Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) and Food Industry Asia (FIA). Since then, it has been encouraging to see ARoFIIN grow to become a critical platform for industry leaders, government officials, academic professionals, and civil societies to engage in discussions around the opportunities, challenges and solutions in tackling malnutrition on both ends of the spectrum.
As we look at today’s health and wellness landscape, it is clear that the pace of change has never been greater. This rapid change brings both opportunities and risks, and ARoFIIN strives to be at the forefront of addressing both. There are significant challenges to overcome from the growing burden of malnutrition – increasing obesity rates, staggering prevalence of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies in both rural and urban communities in Asia – but they also make today one of the most promising times to improve the lives of people in our region.
However, it would be foolhardy to assume that this can be achieved overnight. We have made much progress over the past four years in addressing Asia’s dual burden of over- and under-nutrition, but there is still more work to be done. Above all else, to be successful in our journey of tackling these issues, we depend on the power of collaboration. We depend on the public to take bold steps with us in leading a healthier lifestyle. And we depend on partnerships across the industry, governments and academia.
Just last year, we had the pleasure of signing partnership agreements with the World Food Programme (WFP) and Mahidol University to embark on initiatives in Indonesia and Thailand to raise nutrition awareness in schools as part of a holistic framework to tackle malnutrition in these countries. I am pleased to say that we will be kicking off the programmes very soon! Achievements like this speak to our commitment to create a culture that delivers real change to improve the health and wellness of the Asian population.
I am also looking forward to the launch of our rebranded identity “evolve.” at our Annual Roundtable on 1 August 2019. With our revamped platform, we hope to explore new ways to deliver meaningful behaviour change empowering healthy communities, in the years to come. Health and wellness is and will continue to play a huge and increasing role in all our lives. Collectively, we have a responsibility to promote balanced diets and lifestyles to all communities in Asia. With our commitment and reach to improve health and wellness in Asia, I am incredibly confident in the continued success of this partnership platform.
Join the conversation with Prof. Jeyakumar Henry on addressing Asia’s health challenges at the 5th ARoFIIN Roundtable on 1 August 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.