The World Health Organization defines surveillance as a "systematic ongoing collection, collation and analysis of data and the timely dissemination of information to those who need to know so that action can be taken."
Dietitians monitor the growth and development of children and the health of clients and communities to identify nutrition-related problems, including malnutrition. At a community and national level, food and nutrition surveillance is a key element for identifying nutrition problems and determining if the policies, programs, and services that have been put in place are having an impact.
Position and Actions
Dietitians support the use of standardized tools for monitoring the growth and development of children and the health of clients and communities.
Dietitians have advocated for a current national database of Canadian foods to support the monitoring of the food supply and the monitoring of Canadian food intakes.
In almost every initiative involving dietitians from advocating for a reduction in the sodium consumption of Canadians, to reducing malnutrition in hospitals, to food security for all Canadians, surveillance is called for as part of the solution. Canada needs to have a robust health and nutrition surveillance system, including the Canadian Community Health Survey conducted on a regular and ongoing basis.
Updated August 22, 2016