It is estimated that 805 million people around the world suffer from hunger every day and more than two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Children in the developing world tend to be among the worst affected. One in five children under-five (or approximately 161 million globally) is stunted – most of whom live in developing countries. Half (45%) of the deaths of young children (under five) are linked to undernutrition. A substantial amount (12%) of which is attributed to sub-optimal breastfeeding.
Undernutrition takes the following forms:
Wasting and stunting are caused by a lack of energy (calories), particularly protein and micronutrients such as iodine, vitamin A and iron. However a significant number of people who eat sufficient calories do not obtain sufficient micronutrients and this leads to the third form of undernutrition: micronutrient deficiency, which is sometimes referred to as hidden hunger.
As with obesity the economic costs of undernutrition are high. It is estimated that many countries lose 2-3% of their gross domestic product (GDP) due to undernutrition. However, in the hardest hit countries in Africa and Asia the cost of undernutrition can be as high as 11% of GDP.
The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.
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