Malnutrition, obesity a global problem
According to the study, most countries have at least two issues related to malnutrition. The most prevalent issues are children who are either overweight, anemic, or suffer from stunted growth. Overall, malnutrition contributes to about half of all childhood deaths, the research showed.
India has the highest number of malnourished children in the world. Many of them are “stunted,” meaning they are too short for their age. Their height is a visible sign that not only their bones are not getting enough nutrients, but also their brains, indicating their hampered ability to learn.
Lucy Sullivan, executive director of 1000 Days and co-chair the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group, said that stunted children do not do well in school. Down the road, those affected may not be able to get as good of a job as they could have, had they been well-fed.
It also prevents them from being able to contribute to society, and the economy, as well as they would have in a healthier environment, Sullivan added. According to Sullivan, fixing malnutrition comes with a $70 billion price tag, but compared with what it takes to maintain costs associated with the condition, that figure is relatively small.
A big part of the problem are eating and lifestyle choices, according to experts. North America alone purchases some of the highest volumes of packaged foods, the Global Nutrition Report found, and 66 percent of them are of low nutritional quality.