Unlike extreme hunger, the issue of malnutrition is invisible. Adequate nutrition isn't just about having food to eat. Nutrients are what counts.
Around 3.5 billion people are malnourished. Each day, one in nine go hungry. (GAIN)
Almost half of all deaths in children under five are attributable to under-nutrition. (UNICEF)
Without the right nourishment, children's immune systems don't develop properly, leaving them powerless to defend themselves against illness and infectious disease throughout their lives. Breastfeeding babies and feeding them with balanced food provides them with the nutrients they need to be healthy.
159 million children are stunted, trapping generations in poverty and unfulfilled potential.
"Malnutrition is a solvable problem that if addressed improves health, longevity, quality of life, national resources and education."
Fortifying foods such as flour, rice and wheat is a cost-effective way to ensure that people consume enough essential micronutrients.
Thousands of healthcare dollars are averted by preventing neural tube defects through such actions. The most common of these birth defects is spina bifida, for which affected children often need costly surgeries and treatments.Costs to begin rice fortification vary depending on the type of technology used. For example, the recurring costs to fortify one metric ton of rice range from USD 6 to USD 20. This depends mainly on the complexity of the mix of vitamins and mineral added. These costs are expected to decrease as rice fortification becomes more common.
"Food fortification helps economies by reducing malnutrition, preventing estimated losses to the economy of as much as 2.65% of GDP according to the World Bank."
-Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
The economic benefits to countries includes improved productivity as nutritional anemia is prevented.
The benefits of targeting malnutrition:
- Prevent nutritional anaemia
- Prevent birth defects
- Increase productivity
- Economic progress