International Collaboration on Nutrition in relation to Cancer Spring 2024 Newsletter

International Collaboration on Nutrition in relation to Cancer (ICONIC) stands as a formal Task Force of the IUNS, representing a partnership among global entities dedicated to addressing the intersection of nutrition and cancer. These entities include the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF International), the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the International Malnutrition Task Force (IMTF), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the UK NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration.

ICONIC has just published its Spring 2024 newsletter. In this latest update, it shares what is coming up in 2024, others news on activities from some of their members and features on their core team member in Africa.

You can read the full newsletter here. If you are interested in directly receiving their regular updates on activity, you can subscribe to their newsletter.

ICONIC’s Autumn Progress Update

ICONIC is one of the IUNS Task Forces and has been active for the last 5 years. Its term has been agreed to be extended until the next IUNS-ICN (ICN-2025). ICONIC is a collaboration of organisations in the field of cancer and nutrition with the aim of taking the lead in developing awareness of the importance of diet, nutrition, and physical activity in the causation and management of cancer within the international community. It also seeks to build capability and capacity, especially in LMIC. The International Union of Nutritional Science (IUNS), World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF International), the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the International Malnutrition Task Force (IMTF), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the UK NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration are among the organisations involved in ICONIC activities.

ICONIC’s activities are a result of collaboration among these organisations. They recently published a report on the activities they have actively undertaken by this autumn. Some of the notable activities include:

  1. Progress on establishing a Quality Assurance Framework and Nutrition for Africa (QAFANA): As a continuation of the work of a working group of ICONIC that developed and escalated a Quality Assurance Framework, initially for anthropometry but eventually for other markers of nutritional wellbeing, they succeeded in establishing two centres for nutritional assessment in Ghana and have started to generate support and engagement at the national level.
  2. Cancer and Nutrition Epidemiology for Africa: Update on CANA’s online grant writing course: As the third year of this pilot course, this year finished with a graduation ceremony where participants were presented with their certificates of attendance.
  3. Participation in the AORTIC conference in Senegal, November 2024.
  4. As a new feature of the ICONIC newsletter, there will now be a conversation with experts in the field of cancer and nutrition. This time, the Meet the Expert is Dr. Elom Agalago from Imperial College London.
  5. Facilitating international collaboration and developing activities in the area of childhood cancers, with the ambition to create a Community of Practice focused on diet, nutrition, physical activity and cancer in children, teenagers and young adults (CTYA) that seeks to align research and communication in order to advance the adoption of essential practices and better inform care for young cancer patients; 

For more details about each event, please visit the ICONIC website and make sure to subscribe to their biannual newsletter to stay updated with their activities.

Sustainability and Mediterranean diets – IUNS and FENS to collaborate on joint international Task Force

The CIHEAM 3rd World Conference on revitalization of Mediterranean Diet was held on 28 –30 September 2022 in Bari, Italy. During the conference, Professor Dr Marcela Gonzalez-Gross, Professor Furio Brighenti and Professor Jacques Delarue participated on behalf of the Task Force on Mediterranean Networking of FENSheld a successful session titled ” Assessing and promoting the adherence of the Mediterranean Diet” with the Task Force on Sustainable Diets (chair: Professor Barbara Burlingame). The aim of this session was to develop the methodology permitting obtaining a single index for adherence to MedDiet setting the path for creating, evaluating and implementing a common frame for a new Mediterranean Dietary pattern for the 21st century.

 This session, which was held with the presence of 25 participants and 5 speakers, focused on addressing the health and nutrition challenges associated with adherence, and lack thereof, to the Mediterranean Diet. To propose actions, framed within the context of the Right to Food and the six principles of food security, they reached 11 outputs.

The outcome list is as follows:

  1. Acknowledgement of the difficulties and limits of using “health-derived scores” to describe the four benefits of an ideal dietary pattern (low environmental impact, positive economic return for local communities, high socio-cultural value, major health and nutritional effect).
  2. Currently, there are at least 22 different MD scores for analyzing adherence to Med Diet and deriving measures of effect on health.
  3. There are differences in country-specific food habits that may affect the scores, and (often) limits in methodology. 
  4. There is a consensus that some common metric can be useful for assessment and management at both population and individual level. However, developing a “unified” metric is a methodological challenge.
  5. First step is to agree on the need to move forward. Then set consensus on methodology. 
  6. Importance of what to measure (something that can be measured) and how it should be measured.
  7. Ideally, we should move towards a methodology with a more holistic approach, i.e., able to include sustainable (environmentally and economically), local Mediterranean diets. 
  8. Continue to promote adherence to the Mediterranean Diet through multisectoral programmes and campaigns, while concurrently developing the consensus methodology.
  9. Develop a set of guidelines for different sectors and professional groups, modelled on successful codes of conduct and/or voluntary guidelines, to encourage adherence.
  10. The way of moving forward is creating a Task Force including FENS and IUNS, but also other potential actors.
  11. role of this Task Force is setting the path for creating, evaluating and implementing a common frame for a new Mediterranean Dietary pattern for the 21st century.

Professor Jacques Delarue announced that a joint FENS-IUNS symposium will be held during FENS 2023 in Belgrade, Serbia, with the aim of presenting the final conclusions during IUNS-ICN Paris in 2025.

Nutrigenetics: Translation into Clinical and Nutritional Practice Webinar

Free Webinar | Nutrigenetics: Translation into Clinical and Nutritional Practice

7 Sep 2021, 14:00 (CEST) | 8:00am EDT | 8:00pm CST Asia

Genetic Testing, Personalized Nutrition, Precision Nutrition, Metabolic Health, Brain Health, Obesity

This FREE webinar features contribution and speakers from the IUNS Precision Nutrition Task Force and is supported by the IUNS Committee for Capacity Development.  

The number of participants to the live session is limited but the recording will be made available on Sciforum shortly afterwards. Registrations with academic institutional email addresses will be prioritized.


The human genome contains a huge amount of information. Information variability among human subjects is even greater. We are beginning to grasp this genetic variability and its implications for health, behavior, capacities (physical and intellectual), aging, and responses to different types of interventions. Even if still in its infancy, the development of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics is already providing concrete examples regarding the interaction of genetics, nutrition, and health outcomes whose translation into clinical and nutritional practice begins to be feasible and advisable. This knowledge – in the form, for instance, of genetic risk scores covering known variability in relevant gene sets, or the identification of single genetic variants or haplotypes that are consistently linked to phenotypic traits or responses to diet – is instrumental to preventive and therapeutic approaches against nutrition-related disease conditions through personalized dietary choices and recommendations. Importantly, at the same time, the novel knowledge generated is helping to advance our understanding of human biology and physiology. As Editor-in-Chief of the Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics section of the journal Nutrients, it is my pleasure and my honor to have reunited, in this Webinar, three outstanding, scientists acknowledged worldwide in the field, who will show us relevant examples emerging from their research and the momentum of the area such that we can envisage the possibilities, and limitations, open to us.

Prof. Dr. María Luisa Bonet
Registration and More Info

Schoolgirl in Haiti receiving WFP meal. Photo: WFP/Antoine Vallas

School Feeding Coalition Formation: A Game Changing Effort

The number of children living in households that are struggling to put food on the table has doubled during the pandemic, approximately “38 million children were acutely hungry in 2019 and the pandemic could push this further… taking the total to 74 million”. Under the coordination of UN Nutrition, a coalition on school feeding is being formed in 2021 to address these challenges, in the context of the Food Systems Summit and key education sector discussions such as the Global Education Forum, Global Education Summit.

The IUNS International Malnutrition Task Force has been actively involved the early stages of the formation of this coalition. An update is available to provide information on the evolution of the coalition formation and provides information for those interested in joining the coalition.

Credit: WFP/Ahmed Haleem

New Publication: IUNS TF and World Food Programme- State of School Feeding Worldwide 2020 Report

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched the current report analysing the State of School Feeding Worldwide, an inter-agency undertaking with extensive engagement of UNESCO, UNICEF and others. The IUNS International Malnutrition Task Force has worked directly with the inter-agency group.
The report includes “A paediatric nutritionist’s perspective on food, schools and school feeding”, contributed by the Co-Chair of the IUNS International Malnutrition Task Force, Prof. Alan A. Jackson.

The report uses the best available data sources to describe key aspects of coverage, implementation practices and costs of school-based health and nutrition programmes worldwide. Additionally the report seeks to analyse the direction and scale of change between the previous report (2013) and 2020, and to provide an update on advances in evidence and understanding of school feeding programmes. The report includes analysis of the impact the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on the global growth of school feeding programmes.

The report is available here State of School Feeding Worldwide 2020 | World Food Programme (

During 2020 the UN Network for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) merged to form UN Nutrition. This inter-agency collaboration is focused on tackling School Feeding and the effective prevention and treatment of severe malnutrition infants and young children. The International Malnutrition Task Force will continue engagement with the activities of UN Nutrition.

Nutrition and Cancer TF- Virtual Dialogues Series Starts April 12th 2021

ICONIC (International Collaboration on Nutrition in relation to Cancer), the IUNS Task Force, are pleased to announce that they will be hosting a series of Virtual Dialogues over the next year in collaboration with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to address key questions in nutrition and cancer through online expert presentations and panel discussions.

The first Special Focus Dialogue takes place on April 12th 2021, on the topic “Nutrition and cancer in children, teens and young adults: current understanding and future opportunities”.

The event will provide a chance to connect, exchange knowledge in this area, access expert insights, and identify research priorities moving forward. There are plans to host further dialogues later in the year.

More information and registration details are available here. Regular updates on all the Dialogues will be on Twitter (@iuns_iconic).

IUNS Task Force applications (2017 – 2021)

IUNS addresses global issues of nutrition through its committees known as ‘Task Forces’. Task Forces consist of a membership with broad geographical representation and organise international workshops or meetings on topics currently significant in nutrition which result in publications in peer reviewed journals or monographs. Several IUNS Task Forces have later developed to become larger bodies, such as the World Obesity Federation (previously known as the International Obesity Task Force). IUNS provides funding for Task Forces and they are expected to send yearly reports on their work.

IUNS Council is currently reviewing all Task Forces from the period 2013 – 2017 and considering new proposals. If you would like to submit a Task Force proposal please download the form attached here.

Please fill the Name of the Task Force, Proposed Chairs, Proposed Members and Plan for the next Council Period and send this to the IUNS Secretariat at before 15th January.

If you have any queries please contact the IUNS Secretariat at