Handbook on Food
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Handbook on Food

Demand, Supply, Sustainability and Security

Edited by Raghbendra Jha, Raghav Gaiha and Anil B. Deolalikar

The global population is forecasted to reach 9.4 billion by 2050, with much of this increase concentrated in developing regions and cities. Ensuring adequate food and nourishment to this large population is a pressing economic, moral and even security challenge and requires research (and action) from a multi-disciplinary perspective. This book provides the first such integrated approach to tackling this problem by addressing the multiplicity of challenges posed by rising global population, diet diversification and urbanization in developing countries and climate change.
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Chapter 10: Poverty nutrition traps

Raghbendra Jha, Katsushi S. Imai and Raghav Gaiha


Undernutrition or undernourishment refers to an outcome that results from insufficient food intake and tends to cause infectious diseases in developing countries. The broader notion of 'hunger' for the population as a whole is, however, multidimensional. Thus, the International Food Policy Research Institute's (IFPRI's) Global Hunger Index (GHI) has three components: (1) Undernourishment, i.e. the proportion of people with inadequate intake of calories, (2) Child underweight, i.e. the proportion of children below 5 years who are underweight, and (3) Child mortality, i.e. the mortality rate of children under the age of 5 years. IFPRI's Global Hunger Index is a simple unweighted sum of these three magnitudes. Table 10.1 gives figures on these magnitudes for select developing countries. That said, quantifying undernutrition, itself, is a challenging task with the extent of undernutrition varying according to age, occupation and gender. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), with its emphasis on child nutrition, uses the following multidimensional approach for children aged 0-59 months: (1) underweight for one's age including being dangerously thin (wasted), (2) too short for one's age (stunted), and (3) deficient in macro (calorie and/or protein) or micro (vitamins and minerals) nutrients.

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