According to Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention, Food and Agriculture Organization (2011),
According to John, Mason, Hunt, Joseph, Parker, David and Jonsson, Urban (1999): Investing in Child Nutrition in Asia, Asian Development Review, Vol. 17, nos. 1,2, pp. 1-32,
• About half the preschool children in Asia are considered to be malnourished, ranging from 16 percent underweight in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to 64 percent in Bangladesh, and a similar percentage are deficient in one or more micronutrients.
• Poor diet and infectious disease interact to cause growth failure in children, physiological damage especially to the immune system, and specific clinical conditions like anemia, leading to impaired development and death.
• Malnutrition is the largest risk factor in the world for disability and premature mortality, especially in developing countries, and is entirely preventable. Eliminating malnutrition would cut child mortality by more than 50 percent, and reduce the burden of disease in developing countries by about 20 percent
• Micronutrient deficiencies, measured by specific signs, are very widespread, in fact more so than general malnutrition, in part because the poor first meet energy needs, and the cheapest energy sources are the lowest in micronutrients. The three of most concern are vitamin A deficiency (VAD), iron deficiency, usually assessed as anemia, and iodine deficiency disorders (IDDs).
• Anemia resulting from iron deficiency is highly prevalent and showing no signs of declining in Asia. More than half the women of reproductive age are anemic, and children are similarly affected
According to 2010 Global Hunger Index, which has been brought out by International Food Policy research Institute (IFPRI), http://www.ifpri.org/pressroom/briefing/2010-global-hunger
• The 2010 Global Hunger Index (GHI) is calculated for 122 developing countries and countries in transition for which data on the three components of hunger are available.
• The Index scores countries based on three equally weighted indicators: the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and the child mortality rate.
• The Index ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in practice.
• An increase in a country’s GHI score indicates that the hunger situation is worsening, while a decrease in the score indicates an improvement in the country’s hunger situation.
• This year’s GHI reflects data from 2003-2008—the most recent available global data on the three components of hunger.
• Since 1990, the world’s GHI score has decreased by nearly 25 percent. However, global hunger remains at a “serious” level.
• South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa continue to suffer from the highest levels of hunger, with regional scores of 22.9 and 21.7, respectively.
• Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Vietnam made the most absolute progress in improving their scores between the 1990 GHI and 2010 GHI. In the same period, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Tunisia, and Turkey made the most relative progress in reducing hunger.
• Undernutrition signifies deficiencies in energy, protein, and/or essential vitamins and minerals. Undernutrition is the result of inadequate intake of food—in terms of either quality or quantity—or poor utilization of nutrients due to infections or other illnesses, or a combination of these two factors.
• Bangladesh, India, and Timor-Leste have the highest prevalence of underweight children in Asia– 40 percent.
• Bangladesh: Over the past 25 years, Bangladesh has made significant progress in reducing its under-five mortality rate, as well as the prevalence of underweight and stunted children. Despite these improvements, 54 out of every 1,000 children do not survive to their fifth birthday and a staggering 43 percent of Bangladeshi children are stunted, accounting for almost 4 percent of stunted children worldwide.
• China: Between 1990 and 2002, China reduced child malnutrition from 25 percent to 8 percent with a highly successful poverty alleviation strategy; effective large-scale health, nutrition, and family-planning interventions; and increased spending on water, sanitation, and education.
• India: Between 1990 and 2008, the prevalence of underweight children dropped from 60 percent to 44 percent, while the under-five mortality rate fell from 12 percent to 7 percent.
• In 2005-06, about 44 percent of Indian children under age five were underweight and 48 percent were stunted. Because of the country’s large population, India is home to 42 percent of the world’s underweight children and 31 percent of its stunted children.
• Malaysia: Between 1990 and 2005, the proportion of children who were underweight decreased from 22 percent to 7 percent. This impressive reduction can be attributed to rapid economic growth, as well as interventions targeted to women and young children.
According to The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Addressing food insecurity in protracted crises, which has been brought out by the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme, http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1683e/i1683e.pdf:
• World hunger is increasing: The World Food Summit (WFS) goal of halving the number of undernourished people in the world by 2015 is becoming more difficult to reach for many countries. FAO’s most recent estimates put the number of hungry people at 923 million in 2007, an increase of more than 80 million since the 1990–92 base period.
• High food prices share much of the blame: The most rapid increase in chronic hunger experienced in recent years occurred between 2003–05 and 2007. FAO’s provisional estimates show that, in 2007, 75 million more people were added to the total number of undernourished relative to 2003–05. While several factors are responsible, high food prices are driving millions of people into food insecurity, worsening conditions for many who were already food-insecure, and threatening long-term global food security.
• The poorest, landless and female-headed households are the hardest hit: The vast majority of urban and rural households in the developing world rely on food purchases for most of their food and stand to lose from high food prices. High food prices reduce real income and worsen the prevalence of food insecurity and malnutrition among the poor by reducing the quantity and quality of food consumed.
• Initial governmental policy responses have had limited effect: To contain the negative effects of high food prices, governments have introduced various measures, such as price controls and export restrictions. While understandable from an immediate social welfare perspective, many of these actions have been ad hoc and are likely to be ineffective and unsustainable. Some have had damaging effects on world price levels and stability.
• By virtue of their size, China and India combined account for 42 percent of the chronically hungry people in thedeveloping world. The importance of China and India in the overall picture warrants some analysis of the main driving forces behind hunger trends
• After registering impressive gains between 1990–92 and the mid-1990s, progress in reducing hunger in India has stalled since about 1995–97. The high proportion of undernourished in India in the base had a challenging task in reducing the number of undernourished
• The increase in the number of undernourished in India can be traced to a slowing in the growth (even a slight decline) in per capita dietary energy supply for human consumption since 1995–97. On the demand side, life expectancy in India has increased from 59 to 63 years since 1990–92. This has had an important impact on the overall change in population structure, with the result that in 2003–05 the growth in minimum dietary energy requirements had outpaced that of dietary energy supply
• The combination of the declining per capita growth rate in total dietary energy supply and higher per capita dietary energy requirements resulted in an estimated 24 million more undernourished people in India in 2003–05 compared with the base period. The increased food needs of the ageing population amount to about 6.5 million tonnes per year in cereal equivalent. Nevertheless, the prevalence of hunger in India decreased from 24 percent in 1990–92 to 21 percent in 2003–05, marking progress towards meeting the MDG hunger reduction target.
According to the Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Rural India (2009), which has been prepared by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and the World Food Programme (WFP),
• The better performers include Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, all of which report an Index value below 0.5
• The proportion of population consuming less than 1890 kcal/cu/diem has in fact increased in the states of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan and marginally for Punjab.
• Almost 2/3rd of rural households in Jharkhand did not have access to safe drinking water in 2001.
• More than 90 percent of rural households in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh did not have access to toilets within their premises.
• As many as eight states - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan – have shown increase in the incidence of anaemia among women in the reproductive age group. The highest increase in anaemia levels has been observed in Andhra Pradesh (51 to 64 percent), followed by Haryana (48 to 57 percent) and Kerala (23 to 32 percent).
• The proportion of women with CED has drastically increased for Assam (28 to 40 percent) followed by Bihar (40 to 46 percent), Madhya Pradesh (42 to 45 percent) and Haryana (31 to 33 percent).