Food prices/Malnutrition: Malnutrition is a condition that results from eating a diet which does not supply a healthy amount of one or more nutrients.
This includes diets that have too little nutrients or so many that the diet causes health problems.
The nutrients involved can include calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins or minerals.
A lack of nutrients is called undernutrition or undernourishment while a surplus of nutrients cases overnutrition.
Malnutrition is most often used to refer to undernutrition.
When an individual is not getting enough calories, protein, or micronutrients.
If undernutrition occurs during pregnancy, or before two years of age.
It may result in permanent problems with physical and mental development.
Extreme undernourishment, known as starvation or chronic hunger.
May have symptoms that include: a short height, thin body, very poor energy levels, and swollen legs and abdomen.
Those who are malnourished often get infections and are frequently cold.
The symptoms of micronutrient deficiencies depend on the micronutrient that is lacking.
Undernourishment is most often due to a lack of high-quality food which is available to eat.
This is often related to high food prices and poverty.
A lack of breastfeeding may contribute to undernourishment.
Infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis, pneumonia, malaria, and measles, which increase nutrient requirements, can also cause malnutrition.
There are two main types of undernourishment: protein-energy malnutrition and dietary deficiencies.
Protein-energy malnutrition has two severe forms: and kwashiorkor (a lack of protein) and marasmus (a lack of protein and calories).
Common micronutrient deficiencies include a lack of iron, iodine, and vitamin A.
Deficiencies may become more common during pregnancy.
Due to the body’s increased need of nutrients.
In some developing countries, overnutrition in the form of obesity is beginning to present within the same communities as undernutrition.
This is because the food that is often available is not healthy.
Other causes of malnutrition include anorexia nervosa and bariatric surgery.
Efforts to improve nutrition are some of the most effective forms of development aid.
Breastfeeding can reduce rates of malnutrition and death in children.
And some efforts to promote the practice have been successful.
In young children, providing food (in addition to breastmilk) between six months and two years of age improves outcomes.
There is also good evidence supporting the supplementation of a number of micronutrients to women during pregnancy and young children in the developing world.
Delivering food and providing money to organizations who do so can help get food to those who need it most.
Some strategies help people buy food within local markets.
Simply feeding students at school is insufficient.
Management of severe malnutrition within the person’s home with ready-to-use therapeutic foods is possible much of the time.
In those who have severe malnutrition complicated by other health problems.
Treatment in a hospital setting is recommended.
This often involves managing low blood sugar and body temperature, addressing dehydration, and gradual feeding.
Routine antibiotics are usually recommended due to the high risk of infection.
Longer-term measures include: improving agricultural practices, reducing poverty and improving sanitation.
In 2018, There were 821 million undernourished people in the world (10.8% of the total population).
This is a reduction of about 176 million people since 1990 when 23% of the world were undernourished.
However, there has been an increase of hunger since 2015, when about 795 million, or 10.6%, were undernourished.
In 2012, it was estimated that another billion people had a lack of vitamins, and minerals.
In 2015, protein-energy malnutrition was estimated to have resulted in 323,000 deaths—down from 510,000 deaths in 1990.
Other nutritional deficiencies, which include iodine deficiency and iron deficiency anemia, resulted in another 83,000 deaths.
In 2010, malnutrition was the cause of 1.4% of all disability adjusted life years.
About a third of deaths in children are believed to be due to undernutrition, although the deaths are rarely labelled as such.
In 2010, it was estimated to have contributed to about 1.5 million deaths in women and children.
Though some estimate the number may be greater than 3 million.
An additional 165 million children were estimated to have stunted growth from malnutrition in 2013. Undernutrition is more common in developing countries.
Certain groups have higher rates of undernutrition, including women—in particular while pregnant or breastfeeding—children under five years of age, and the elderly.
In the elderly, undernutrition is more commonly due to physical, psychological, and social factors, not a lack of food.
Reducing malnutrition is key part of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) “Zero hunger” with a malnutrition target alongside reducing under nutrition and stunted child growth.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP) 135 million suffer from acute hunger, largely due to manmade conflicts, climate changes, and economic downturns.
COVID-19 could double the number of people at risk of suffering acute hunger by the end of 2020.
Undernutrition and overnutrition
Malnutrition is caused by eating a diet in which nutrients are not enough or is too much such that it causes health problems.
It is a category of diseases that includes undernutrition and overnutrition.
Overnutrition can result in obesity and being overweight.
In some developing countries, overnutrition in the form of obesity is beginning to present within the same communities as undernutrition.
However, the term malnutrition is commonly used to refer to undernutrition only.
This applies particularly to the context of development cooperation.
Therefore, “malnutrition” in documents by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Save the Children.
Or other international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) usually is equated to undernutrition.
Undernutrition is sometimes used as a synonym of protein–energy malnutrition (PEM).
While other include both micronutrient deficiencies and protein energy malnutrition in its definition.
It differs from calorie restriction in that calorie restriction may not result in negative health effects.
The term hypoalimentation means underfeeding.
The term “severe malnutrition” or “severe undernutrition” is often used to refer specifically to PEM.
PEM is often associated with micronutrient deficiency.
Two forms of PEM are kwashiorkor and marasmus, and they commonly coexist.
Kwashiorkor is mainly caused by inadequate protein intake.
The main symptoms are edema, wasting, liver enlargement, hypoalbuminaemia, steatosis, and possibly depigmentation of skin and hair.
Kwashiorkor is further identified by swelling of the belly, which is deceiving of actual nutritional status.
The term means ‘displaced child’ and is derived from a Ghana language of West Africa, means “the sickness the older one gets when the next baby is born,” as this is when the older child is deprived of breast feeding and weaned to a diet composed largely of carbohydrates.
Marasmus (‘to waste away’) is caused by an inadequate intake of protein and energy.
The main symptoms are severe wasting, leaving little or no edema, minimal subcutaneous fat, severe muscle wasting, and non-normal serum albumin levels.
Marasmus can result from a sustained diet of inadequate energy and protein, and the metabolism adapts to prolong survival.
It is traditionally seen in famine, significant food restriction, or more severe cases of anorexia.
Conditions are characterized by extreme wasting of the muscles and a gaunt expression.
Undernutrition encompasses stunted growth (stunting).
Wasting, and deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals (collectively referred to as micronutrients).
The term hunger, which describes a feeling of discomfort from not eating, has been used to describe undernutrition, especially in reference to food insecurity.
Malnutrition increases the risk of infection and infectious disease.
And moderate malnutrition weakens every part of the immune system.
For example, it is a major risk factor in the onset of active tuberculosis.
Protein and energy malnutrition and deficiencies of specific micronutrients (including iron, zinc, and vitamins) increase susceptibility to infection.
Malnutrition affects HIV transmission by increasing the risk of transmission from mother to child and also increasing replication of the virus.
In communities or areas that lack access to safe drinking water.
These additional health risks present a critical problem.
Lower energy and impaired function of the brain also represent the downward spiral of malnutrition as victims are less able to perform the tasks they need to in order to acquire food, earn an income, or gain an education.
Vitamin-deficiency-related diseases (such as scurvy and rickets).
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can result from a child not eating for 4 to 6 hours.
Hypoglycemia should be considered if there is lethargy, limpness, convulsion, or loss of consciousness.
If blood sugar can be measured immediately and quickly, perform a finger or heel stick.
In those with malnutrition some of the signs of dehydration differ.
Children; however, may still be interested in drinking, have decreased interactions with the world around them, have decreased urine output, and may be cool to touch.
Major causes of malnutrition include poverty and food prices.
Dietary practices and agricultural productivity, with many individual cases being a mixture of several factors.
Clinical malnutrition, such as cachexia, is a major burden also in developed countries.
Various scales of analysis also have to be considered in order to determine the sociopolitical causes of malnutrition.
For example, the population of a community that is within poor governments.
May be at risk if the area lacks health-related services.
But on a smaller scale certain households or individuals may be at an even higher risk.
Due to differences in income levels, access to land, or levels of education.
Malnutrition can be a consequence of health issues such as gastroenteritis or chronic illness.
Especially the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Diarrhea and other infections can cause malnutrition through decreased nutrient absorption.
Decreased intake of food, increased metabolic requirements, and direct nutrient loss.
Parasite infections, in particular intestinal worm infections (helminthiasis), can also lead to malnutrition.
A leading cause of diarrhea and intestinal worm infections in children in developing countries is lack of sanitation and hygiene.
People may become malnourished due to abnormal nutrient loss (due to diarrhea or chronic illness affecting the small bowel).
This conditions may include Crohn’s disease or untreated coeliac disease.
Malnutrition may also occur due to increased energy expenditure (secondary malnutrition).
A lack of adequate breastfeeding leads to malnutrition in infants and children.
Associated with the deaths of an estimated one million children annually.
Illegal advertising of breast milk substitutes contributed to malnutrition.
And continued three decades after its 1981 prohibition under the WHO International Code of Marketing Breast Milk Substitutes.
Maternal malnutrition can also factor into the poor health or death of a baby.
Over 800,000 neonatal deaths have occurred because of deficient growth of the fetus in the mother’s womb.
Deriving too much of one’s diet from a single source, such as eating almost exclusively corn or rice, can cause malnutrition.
This may either be from a lack of education about proper nutrition.
Or from only having access to a single food source.
It is not just the total amount of calories that matters but specific nutritional deficiencies.
Such as vitamin A deficiency, iron deficiency or zinc deficiency can also increase risk of death.
Poverty and food prices
It is argued that commodity speculators are increasing the cost of food.
As the real estate bubble in the United States was collapsing.
It is said that trillions of dollars moved to invest in food and primary commodities, causing the 2007–2008 food price crisis.
The use of biofuels as a replacement for traditional fuels raises the price of food.
Special rapporteur on the right to food, proposes that agricultural waste, such as corn cobs and banana leaves, rather than crops themselves be used as fuel.
Local food shortages can be caused by a lack of arable land.
Adverse weather, lower farming skills such as crop rotation.
Or by a lack of technology or resources needed for the higher yields found in modern agriculture.
Such as fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, machinery and storage facilities.
As a result of widespread poverty, farmers cannot afford or governments cannot provide the resources necessary to improve local yields.
The World Bank and some wealthy donor countries also press nations that depend on aid to cut or eliminate subsidized agricultural inputs such as fertilizer.
Many, if not most, farmers cannot afford fertilizer at market prices, leading to low agricultural production and wages and high, unaffordable food prices.
Reasons for the unavailability of fertilizer include moves to stop supplying fertilizer on environmental grounds, cited as the obstacle to feeding Africa by the Green Revolution pioneers .
There are a number of potential disruptions to global food supply that could cause widespread malnutrition.
Global warming is of importance to food security, with 95 percent of all malnourished peoples living in the relatively stable climate region of the sub-tropics and tropics.
According to the latest IPCC reports, temperature increases in these regions are “very likely.”
Even small changes in temperatures can lead to increased frequency of extreme weather conditions.
Many of these have great impact on agricultural production and hence nutrition.
For example, the 1998–2001 central Asian drought brought about an 80 percent livestock loss and 50 percent reduction in wheat and barley crops in Iran. Similar figures were present in other nations.
An increase in extreme weather such as drought in regions.
Such as Sub-Saharan Africa would have even greater consequences in terms of malnutrition.
Even without an increase of extreme weather events.
A simple increase in temperature reduces the productivity of many crop species.
Also decreasing food security in these regions.
Colony collapse disorder is a phenomenon where bees die in large numbers.
Since many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees.
This represents a threat to the supply of food.
One suggested policy framework to resolve access issues is termed food sovereignty.
The right of peoples to define their own food, agriculture, livestock, and fisheries systems.
In contrast to having food largely subjected to international market forces.
Food First is one of the primary think tanks working to build support for food sovereignty.
Neoliberals advocate for an increasing role of the free market.
Another possible long-term solution would be to increase access to health facilities to rural parts of the world.
These facilities could monitor undernourished children.
Act as supplemental food distribution centers, and provide education on dietary needs.
These types of facilities have already proven very successful in countries such as Peru and Ghana.
21st century global initiatives
There was renewed international media and political attention focused on malnutrition from about 2009.
Which resulted in part from issues caused by spikes in food prices.
The 2008 financial crisis, and the then emergent consensus that interventions against malnutrition were among the most cost effective ways to contribute to development.
This led to the 2010 launch of the UN’s Scaling up Nutrition movement (SUN).
In April 2012, the Food Assistance Convention was signed, the world’s first legally binding international agreement on food aid.
The May 2012 Copenhagen Consensus recommended that efforts to combat hunger.
And malnutrition should be the first priority for politicians and private sector philanthropists looking to maximize the effectiveness of aid spending.
They put this ahead of other priorities, like the fight against malaria and AIDS.
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has created a partnership that will act through the African Union’s CAADP framework aiming to end hunger in Africa by 2025.
It includes different interventions including support for improved food production.
A strengthening of social protection and integration of the right to food into national legislation.
The Ending Hunger campaign is an online communication campaign aimed at raising awareness of the hunger problem.
It has many worked through viral videos depicting celebrities voicing their anger about the large number of hungry people in the world.
After the Millennium Development Goals expired.
The main global policy focus to reduce hunger and poverty became the Sustainable Development Goals.
In particular Goal Zero hunger sets globally agreed targets to end hunger.
All forms of malnutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
The partnership Compact2025, led by IFPRI with the involvement of UN organisations.
NGOs and private foundations develops and disseminates evidence-based advice to politicians.
And other decision-makers aimed at ending hunger and undernutrition in the coming 10 years, by 2025.