Thursday, October 14, 2010

Global Hunger Index - Child Malnutrition

IFPRI has released the GHI in preparation for World Food Day on Saturday. This year the report highlights child malnutrition. GHI warns that half of the hunger in the world is child hunger.

Now in fairness, this is not a new finding that is somehow different from hunger in the past but is an artifact of how the index is generated: it combines FAO's measure of the percentage of hungry people in a country, the percent of children more than 2 standard deviations underweight before age 5, and the under-five mortality rate. That is, more than 2/3 of the index is created by identifying child hunger. The surprise is that they only estimate half of world hunger is child malnutrition.

The GHI report highlights the following needed interventions:
The burden of child undernutrition could be cut by 25-36 percent by providing universal preventive health services and nutrition interventions for children under two and their mothers during pregnancy and lactation....

“Nutrition interventions should be targeted towards girls and women throughout the life cycle and especially as adolescents before they become pregnant.”
The report recommends that to reduce global hunger, countries must:

• target interventions where they will do the most good – among pregnant and
breastfeeding women and children in their first two years of life;

• address the underlying causes of undernutrition, including poverty, gender inequality, and conflict;

• engage, empower, and support those working at the local level to improve nutrition;

• and make nutrition, especially for young children, a political priority.
Hat tip: Poverty News Blog

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