Unlike extreme hunger, the issue of malnutrition is invisible. Having adequate nutrition isn't just about having food to eat. Nutrients are what counts.
"Around 3.5 billion people — half the people on the planet today — are malnourished. Each day, one in nine go hungry." (GAIN)
Almost half of all deaths in children under age 5 are attributable to undernutrition. (Unicef)
Without the right nourishment, their immune systems don't develop properly and children are powerless to defend themselves against illness and infectious disease throughout their life. Breastfeeding babies and feeding them with food with the right balance of nutrients provides them with the vital ingredients needed.
"159 million children are stunted, trapping generations in lives of poverty and unfulfilled potential".
"It is a solvable problem that if addressed improves health, longevity, quality of life, national resources and education." (PHC)
A cost-effective way to ensure that people consume enough essential micronutrients for good health is to fortify foods like flour, rice and wheat.
Capital costs to begin rice fortification vary depending on the type of technology used. For example, the recurring costs to fortify one metric ton of rice range from USD 6 to USD 20. This depends mainly on the complexity of the mix of vitamins and mineral added. These costs are expected to decrease as rice fortification becomes more common.
Thousands of healthcare dollars are averted by preventing neural tube defects. The most common of these birth defects is spina bifida, and affected children often need costly surgeries and treatments."
"Food fortification helps economies by reducing malnutrition, preventing estimated losses to the economy of as much as 2.65% of GDP according to the World Bank." (GAIN)
The economic benefits to countries includes improved productivity as nutritional anemia is prevented."
The benefits of targeting malnutrition:
- Prevent nutritional anaemia
- Prevent birth defects
- Increase productivity
- Economic progress