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Malnutrition, a Global Problem

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1008663.(doi:10.13031/2013.29687)
Authors:   Shirin Pourafshar, Kurt A Rosentrater, Padmanaban Krishnan
Keywords:   Developing Countries, Food, Hunger, Malnutrition.

Malnutrition is a general term for medical conditions caused by an inadequate diet and poor nutrition. Hunger and malnutrition are among the major difficulties confronting many countries around the world. Malnutrition can be caused by several factors, such as the sharp increase in population (current world population is approximately 6,800,000,000), poor distribution of foods, lack of access to highly nutritious foods, and most important, lack of knowledge about healthy diets. Malnutrition can lead to other problems, such as reduced school attendance, learning capacity, spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and it can have a negative effect on a nations development. The objectives of this study are: 1) to review the occurrence of global malnutrition, and 2) to discuss potential solutions to this challenging problem. For example, over three billion people are affected with micronutrient malnutrition in the developing world. Lack of micronutrient components such as iodine, zinc, vitamin A and iron can lead to maternal mortality, diseases such as HIV, and other problems. Over 146 million children under five are underweight and children often die because of malnutrition. There are many challenges to overcome malnutrition, and to provide food security for people. UNICEF, WFS and other organizations are trying to help malnourished children by sending food aid, but this is not enough, and there are still many places in which food security does not exist. According to the FAO organization, food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious foods to meet their dietary needs. So, to develop and distribute nutritious, widely available, low cost foods, which can be consumed by many people around the world is of great importance.

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