Food prices, dietary quality and nutritional status
Food Prices, Dietary Quality, and Nutritional Status Howarth Bouis, Patrick Eozenou, and Aminur Rahman HarvestPlus • 2033 K St. NW • Washington, DC 20006 • www.harvestplus.orgRising food prices around the world are negatively affecting the continue to buy and maintain their consumption of food staplesnutrition of the poor who are coping primarily by reducing the despite increases in prices above other types of foods.amount of non-staple foods (leafy green vegetables, fruits, and Given a food price increase of 50% across the board (holdinganimal products) that they eat. Minerals and vitamins are incomes constant), simulations suggest that for Filipino women,concentrated in these non-staple foods so any reduction in the iron intakes would decline from 7 mg Fe/day to about 5 mgalready low amounts of these foods consumed by the poor will Fe/day. This would mean that the percentage of Filipino womenincrease micronutrient malnutrition. Preschool children and meeting their daily iron requirements would decline from 30%women of reproductive age are generally more at risk from to 5% as a result of the price increase.micronutrient deficiencies and will suffer the most from foodprice increases. Biofortification can help make up for the expected micronutrient shortfall especially among poor consumers byThe poor must, at all costs, protect their consumption of food providing staple food crops with higher amounts of essentialstaples to keep from going hungry. Since demand for food vitamins and minerals.staples (e.g. rice, wheat, maize) is highly inelastic, people will 50% Increase in All Food Prices Share of Total Expenditures Daily Iron Intakes (mg/d) for Filipino Women Before After 20 18 16 With 50% food price increase, Staples intake would drop to 5 mg/d or Fe required (mg/day) 14 only 5% of daily requirement Staples 12 10 Non- Animal & 8 Staple Fish 6 Plant Products Estimated average iron intake 4 among Filipino woman is 7 mg/d Foods Non-Staple Animal & Plant Foods Fish Products 2 (30% of daily requirement) 0 Non-Food Non-Food 0 20 40 60 80 100 Estimated percentile of requirement Forthcoming publication: Bouis HE, Eozenou P, Animur R. 2011. Food prices, household income, and resource allocation: Socioeconomic perspectives on their effects on dietary quality and nutritional status. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 32(1): S14-S23.