Asian Enigma• “In the public imagination, the home of the malnourished child is sub-Saharan Africa. But the league tables clearly show that the worst affected region is not Africa but South Asia. Just over 30% of Africas children are underweight, but the corresponding figure for South Asia is over 50%. And in Bangladesh and India, the proportion of children malnourished is very significantly higher than in even the poorest countries of the sub- Sahara.” (Ramalingaswamy et al., 2006) Poverty, Food & Nutrition Security: Determinants 3
League Table of Malnutrition: Notes• The figures for each country indicate the percentage of children moderately or severely malnourished, defined as having a weight-for-age which is more than two standard deviations below the median weight-for- age (using the international standard recognized by WHO).• The data are drawn from nationally representative surveys conducted by developing countries between 1990 and 1995 (surveys included Demographic and Health Surveys, National Nutrition Surveys, and other national surveys in which the measurement of anthropometric data was included). Poverty, Food & Nutrition Security: 6 Determinants
Asian Enigma & Explanations• Poverty? No, levels of income are the same.• Agricultural performance? No, similar levels of per capita food production.• Higher child mortality rate in Africa? No, the difference is marginal.• Higher inequality? No, Income share of the poorest quintile is much less in SSA than in SA. Poverty, Food & Nutrition Security: 7 Determinants
Asian Enigma & Explanations• Vegetarian Diet? No, Milk & milk products are good sources of protein.• Policy indifference? No, ICDS in India.• Inappropriate Growth Standards? No, Growth curves of children are similar.• Possible explanation: Children in SA either not well-fed, or not well-cared-for, or both. Poverty, Food & Nutrition Security: 8 Determinants
Asian Enigma & Explanations• Evidence: Incidence of low birth weight Level of anemia• Myth: Lack of food only reason for malnutrition• Solution: Good feeding practices Address poor sanitation due to high population density Poverty, Food & Nutrition Security: 9 Determinants
Poverty & Agricultural Growth Evidence from India
Poverty & Food Insecurity: Policy Options• Policy options to tackle food and nutrition deprivation differ between rural and urban sectors.• Economic access as defined by income and prices largely matter in the urban sector while physical access as defined by production matter in the rural sector in general.• Rural sector: Seasonal Price shocks? Poverty, Food & Nutrition Security: 18 Determinants
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