disease

Malnutrition – the great killer behind the curtain

Malnutrition is a far greater problem than world hunger. Why? Because even if a person gets sufficient quantities of food, they can still be undernourished and thus subject to chronic disease, if the food they consume does not provide the proper amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to meet their daily nutritional requirements. In other words, being overweight does necessarily mean being well nourished. According to the UN Hunger report, nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.  The vast majority of the hungry, 852 million, live in developing countries — around 15 percent of their population — while 16 million people are undernourished in developed countries. The FAO states that the world is increasingly faced with a double burden of malnutrition, with chronic undernourishment and micronutrient malnutrition co-existing with obesity, overweight and related non-communicable diseases (affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide). Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. However, with much of the imagery related to these reports showing emaciated children in Africa and India, most people fail to realise that Obesity is another form of this same chronic problem. According to the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN) malnutrition is the largest single contributor to worldwide disease. In my travels to more than 65 countries I have seen a consistent pattern of poor eating habits and thus malnourishment, fueled by an all-too-convenient access to American fast food chains like McDonalds, Burger King and KFC. With heavy subsidization by the local government these junk food behemoths are able to entice, otherwise, well-meaning consumers to throw out common sense and choose foods that may satisfying their hunger and save them money in the short-term, but cost them thousands of dollars in medical bills and […]