CGS NS 202 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Vitamin A Deficiency, Stillbirth, Intellectual Disability

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Lecture 5: The People-Food Predicament
Extent of Hunger
>1 billion people are undernourished worldwide
Vast majority are in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, parts of Southeast Asia, Africa south of
the Sahara, Andean region of South America
19,000 children die daily from malnutrition and related ailments
Malnutrition directly or indirectly causes half of all deaths in children under 5 in less-
developed countries
Affluent nations also have pockets of hunger, e.g. in U.S. among the poor, elderly,
migrant farm workers, Native Americans
Causes of Hunger
Poor infrastructure
Uneven distribution of food
o Related to poor infrastructure, political instability, tribal factions, etc.
Food deserts (related to distribution)
o Areas lacking access to fresh fruit & vegetables
Health Impact of Hunger
Malnutrition directly impacts growth and mental development
Reduces bodily defenses, increasing susceptibility to infectious disease
Reduced health status reduces productivity
Strenuous physical labor becomes impossible
Mothers have higher risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight, stillbirth
Milk of undernourished mothers lower than normal in vitamins, fat, and protein
Micronutrient Deficiencies
o Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) blindness
o Iodine Deficiency (IDD)
Goiter (enlarged thyroid)
Brain damage and mental retardation (cretinism)
Miscarriage or stillbirth
o Iron Deficiency anemia
Low energy, low activity
Increases likelihood of maternal death, premature delivery, stillbirth
Prospects for Reducing World Hunger
Expand amount of cultivated land
o Most prime farmland already in cultivation
o Marginal land negligibly productive
Increase world fish catch
o Future increases in capture fisheries unlikely
o Large predatory fish populations in sharp decline
o Toxic contaminants in oceans kill/injure fish
o Aquaculture must be carefully managed
Reduce postharvest food losses
Eat lower on the food chain
Improve yields per acre
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