How to ensure nutrition security in the global economic crisis to protect and enhance development of young children and our common future

Saskia De Pee, Henk Jan Brinkman, Patrick Webb, Steve Godfrey, Ian Darnton-Hill, Harold Alderman, Richard D. Semba, Ellen Piwoz, Martin W. Bloem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The global economic crisis, commodity price hikes, and climate change have worsened the position of the poorest andmost vulnerable people. These crises are compromising the diet and health of up to 80% of the population in most developing countries and threaten the development of almost an entire generation of children (∼250 million), because the period from conception until 24mo of age irreversibly shapes people's health and intellectual ability. High food prices reduce diversity and nutritional quality of the diet and for many also reduce food quantity. Poor households are hit hardest, because they already spend 50-80% of expenditures on food, little on medicines, education, transport, or cooking fuel, and cannot afford to pay more. Reduced public spending, declining incomes, increased food and fuel prices, and reduced remittance thus impede and reverse progress made toward Millenium Development Goals 1, 4, and 5. Investments in nutrition are among the most costeffective development interventions because of very high benefit:cost ratios, for individuals and for sustainable growth of countries, because they protect health, prevent disability, boost economic productivity, and save lives. To bridge the gap between nutrient requirements, particularly for groups with high needs, and the realistic dietary intake under the prevailing circumstances, the use of complementary food supplements to increase ameal's nutrient content is recommended. This can be in the form of, e.g.,micronutrient powder or low-dose lipid-based nutrient supplements, which can be provided for free, in return for vouchers, at subsidized, or at commercial prices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138S-142S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume140
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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