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Revista de Nutrição

versão impressa ISSN 1415-5273

Rev. Nutr. vol.27 no.6 Campinas nov./dez. 2014 


Contributions for the capacity development in Food and Nutrition in Public Health

Maria Angélica Tavares de Medeiros I   IV  

Shirley Donizete Prado II   IV  

Maria Lúcia Magalhães Bosi III   IV  

IUniversidade Federal de São Paulo, Departamento de Políticas Públicas e Saúde Coletiva, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Alimentos, Nutrição e Saúde. Campus Baixada Santista. Santos, SP, Brasil. E-mail: <>

IIUniversidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Departamento de Nutrição Social, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Alimentação, Nutrição e Saúde. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil. E-mail: <>

IIIUniversidade Federal do Ceará, Departamento de Saúde Comunitária, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Saúde Coletiva. Fortaleza, CE, Brasil. E-mail: <>

IVAssociação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva, Grupo Temático Alimentação e Nutrição em Saúde Coletiva. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil

This section represents a contribution of the Grupo Temático Alimentação e Nutrição em Saúde Coletiva da Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva (GT-ANSC Abrasco, Thematic Group Food and Nutrition in Public Health of the Brazilian Association of Public Health) to the theme of education relating to this specific field of knowledge production and social practices.

The said group resulted of a rich path that includes, among its founding landmarks, the workshop "Human Right to Food and Nutrition - Perspectives for the Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS, Unified Health Care System)", conducted by the Coordenação Geral da Política de Alimentação e Nutrição (CGPAN, General Coordination of the Policy of Food and Nutrition) - of the Ministry of Health at the "IV Brazilian Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities" promoted by Abrasco in 2007. Based on decisions and goals defined back then, the GT-ANSC Abrasco would come to constitute in 2008 in the core of this association, supported by the recognition of the pertinence of granting importance to the objectives of the field of food and nutrition in the set of initiatives that compose Abrasco's mission.

The creation of GT Food and Nutrition in Public Health at Abrasco therefore signals an expressive leap regarding both the quality and the growth and the technical and political consolidation of this field, aiming to potentiate the insertion of nutrition in the SUS as a priority in the public agenda. In order to aggregate efforts for the debate and the formulation in the field of knowledge and practices in a specific domain, this thematic group has been coordinating, since its creation, efforts towards the production of knowledge with the needs of contributing for the qualification of the public management, aggregating different plans - the epidemiological; the political; the educational; and the knowledge production and dissemination.

The initiatives encouraged by this group composed of researchers and actors circumscribed in strategic points in the four planes cited previously, among which is education. In this sense, the presence of GT-ANSC Abrasco has deepened the formulation of propositions regarding contents that may compose the itinerary of education of health professional, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The thematic attribution regarding the challenges that permeate dietician's education in public health has a strategic role in today's domestic scenario, before the complex epidemiological and nutritional picture and the agenda of collective health and food and nutrition security1 - 4. Hence, concomitantly to the process of SUS institution, productions about the role of the professional dietician are recorded, and reflections about curricular changes and guidelines, hour load, and the urgency of adjustments in the education to respond to the demands of the domestic reality1 , 2 , 5 - 9.

Regardless of building a priority, there is still a significant gap in the scientific literature in the field about this theme, in its many dimensions.

Based on what has been published and the discussions developed in many spaces where the problematic of education is focused, there is evidence of strong disharmony between the academic additions and practice, especially before the configurations stemming from the conformation of the Brazilian SUS. Despite the records of advances regarding professionalization of dieticians, practices focusing on a curative and fragmented care prevail, not rarely distant from an integral approach that considers the complexity inherent to the food and nutrition phenomenon. Therefore, a continuous rethinking about the education for a care that strengthens the public dimension and innovation founded in an ethic inspired by integrality, humanization, and by the social control in all spaces of practice is imposed.

Consonant with the compromises and the GT-ANSC Abrasco mission, we urge to promote an effective dialogue between the academic institutions and the other segments, giving emphasis on health management and civil society, especially the users, aiming that the education of professional that respond to the current challenges contemplated in the scope of promoting the Human Right to Adequate Food (HRAF).

In this sense, the construction of theoretical references for understanding the social relationships that involve both food and nutrition problems and the formulation of social policies is among the central GT-ANSC Abrasco objectives. Conceived as a space of convergence of researchers and professionals in the field of Food and Nutrition in Public Health, this group is structured around three thematic axes as follows: knowledge production and dissemination; political action; and education of a work force in the field of food and nutrition in public health - ANSC10.

In the scope of knowledge production regarding the path of ANSC constitution, its contours, and scientific statute, contributions of GT partners about the theoretical-conceptual origins of this field were reunited in a scientific publication of 2011. At the time, there was an attempt to problematize this

... process marked, from the beginning, by tensions between the biological and social paradigms, configuring on the one hand, as an important challenge to be faced, and on the other hand, as a promising path for bringing together distinct scientific fields, both of more practical character as those oriented towards conceptual reflection10 (p.7).

Recognition of the need of giving emphasis to the axis of education among the thematic axes before the demands of the current scenario resulted in this Thematic Section dedicated to the education in food and nutrition in public health, with reflections and experiences of GT-ANSC partners. In this sense, we sought an analytical condensation with references of distinct natures; the contributions here presented to the reader contemplate three original articles and three experience reports of undergraduate nutrition programs of distinct Brazilian regions. Once again the Journal of Nutrition presents as a space of support for the dissemination of the scientific production committed to the development of food and nutrition, from the creation of this space of Thematic Section, in 2006, when it published contributions from the "I Forum of Coordinators of Graduate Nutrition Programs"11.

In the graduate scope, in a study about the scientific field of food and nutrition referenced by Pierre Bourdieu, Liv Katyuska de Carvalho Sampaio Souza, Shirley Donizete Prado, Francisco Romão Ferreira, and Maria Claudia da Veiga Soares Carvalho analyzed the national programs in the area of nutrition under the view of former group members. According to the results, teaching stood out among the expectations of the graduate students, although the pressures for finishing the program, the limited amount of time, and inadequate preparation for teaching have been pointed out as limitations for exercising theoretical criticism and preparation for teaching. In conclusion, it is urgent to rethink the new rules of the scientific game, based on the assessment of productivity according to market metrics, by its repercussions on the development of graduate programs in this field.

Regarding the work of dieticians in SUS, the text written by Diana Macedo and Maria Lúcia Magalhães Bosi, "The place of the dietician in the Support Centers of the Family Health" presents research data from Fortaleza (CE), and tries to understand perceptions and experiences of dieticians working in said centers (NASF) based on the qualitative approach of the critical and interpretative viewpoint. According to the results, the work process of this professional continues to be individualizing, technical, and still far from the ideal of the Brazilian Sanitary Reform and the main national policies of food and nutrition security.

Regarding graduation, three articles are presented in this thematic section.

The contents of the teaching plans and political and educational plans of the Brazilian programs of nutrition were analyzed by Elisabetta Recine, Andrea Sugai, Renata Alves Monteiro, Anelise Rizzolo, and Andhressa Fagundes in a document-based study. With a qualitative approach in the analysis of the disciplines of nutrition in public health, the authors verified a dichotomy between such contentes in the descroption of objectives, competences, and professional practice, in addition to limits in the articulation between the biological, the social practices, and the education of dieticians.

In the text "Education in Nutrition of UFSC: reflections about the teaching process for the Unified Health Care System", Janaina das Neves, Anete Araújo de Sousa, and Francisco de Assis Guedes de Vasconcelos report the experience of the formation of an educational Project whose bases are the principles of the Human Right to Adequate Food, of Food and Nutrition Security, and Health Promotion, Protection, and Recovery. According to the authors, the curriculum with almost 30 years of existence contemplates levels of complexity of SUS health care, integration between disciplines, and active methodologies. Regarding the advances and the continuous assessments, they identified as limitations: the teaching-service integration; the small number of dieticians in practice scenarios/ the disciplinary structure; and the large number of students in practical classes.

In the text: "The Social Sciences in the Education of Dieticians: Report of an experience in the Nutrition Program of the Federal University of Bahia - UFBA", Nilce de Oliveira and Sandra Maria Chaves dos Santos discuss about the contribution of the discipline Development of the Community to the debate about the social education, using a document-based approach and texts produced by students over 30 years. The authors found that, contrary to the affirmation of social approach in health and nutrition, the effectivation of this process is still unsatisfactory. The practical work showed to be revealing of the socioeconomic reality of the city for students in detriment of the theoretical and critical apprehension of such contents. However, the experience with this discipline affirmed the importance of the theoretical and practical contents of the social sciences for food and nutrition.

Finally, the experience of an interdisciplinary trainee course in social nutrition and psychology of the Universidade Federal São Paulo, Campus Baixada Santista, in the territory of SUS Santos (SP), was described by Maria Angélica Tavares de Medeiros, Florianita Coelho Braga-Campos, and Maria Inês Badaró Moreira. The authors researched field records, memoirs of group supervisions and meetings with teams, in addition to final Works produced by students, including narratives and singular therapeutic projects. This study highlighted such stages referenced in SUS policies and the role of team work as sine qua non condition for the integrality of care.

Among the issues thematized in these six articles, the complexity that involves the debate about the education in food and nutrition in public health, in its various matrices, and the alignment regarding the purposes of acting in the development of skills before the public policies in the area are common elements. However, the contributions presented herein do not intend to represent the national production that has been produced nationally about the theme. On the contrary, we hope with this initiative disseminated by the Journal of Nutrition to bring to the surfasse reflections of the GT-ANSC as the starting point for the mobilization of ongoing initiatives in the various regions of the country, with the amplification of these reflections in order to consolidate the work of dieticians and their insertion in the field of food and nutrition in public health.


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