Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poverty, Hunger & Nutrition

Poverty & nutrition: Are the rich countries spared?

According to Rose D hunger rates decline sharply with rising incomes. Surprisingly many USA based studies claim that relationship between poverty-level incomes and hunger does not exist but on contrary in that same country 13.1% of those in poverty experienced hunger and half of those experiencing hunger had incomes above the poverty level. Consuming intakes <50% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) are higher for adult women and elderly individuals from food-insufficient households. Preschoolers from food-insufficient households do not consume significantly lower amounts than those from food-sufficient households, but mean intakes for the rest of members in those very same households are significantly lower for the food insufficient. Examining the relationship between nutritional status & poverty in various age Bhattacharya J et al found poverty is predictive of poor nutrition among preschool children. But among school age children poverty is not associated with nutritional outcomes. Poverty related nutritional diseases are not common in Asia or Africa it also occurs in the rich countries. The nutrition and health consequences of Poverty & food insecurity comprise a potentially rich area for future. Olson CM related hunger to health and nutrition outcomes in food-rich countries such as the United States. They found severe level of food insecurity (household food insecurity) was correlated with higher body mass index (BMI) where as in low income school-age children risk of hunger and hunger were associated with compromised psychosocial functioning. Two subgroups of the population studied by Olson CM are: women of childbearing age and school-age children.

Impacts of poverty on nutrition- diseases caused by it.

A. PEM in Indian subcontinent due to poverty.

B. Other nutrition related conditions due to poverty:

1. iron deficiency (anemia)
2. iodine deficiency (goiter)
3. Calcium deficiency (rickets & osteomalacia)


1. J Health Econ. 2004 Jul;23(4):839-62.
2. J Nutr. 1999 Feb;129(2S Suppl):521S-524S.
3. J Nutr. 1999 Feb;129(2S Suppl):517S-520S.

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