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Scrutiny
  
The truth lies in the middle
Amusingly, while India suffers malnutrition, US suffers obesity
11/11/2010

Underweight children remain a devastating problem in many developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition is the chief reason behind burgeoning child mortality, causing 2.2 million child deaths a year. Not only infant deaths, malnourished children even affect future generations. They grow up with worse health and lower educational achievements. It is not only because of shortage of food but is also often due to the lack of nutritive food.

According to the Global Hunger Index, South Asia has the highest child malnutrition rate of the world, where India alone contributes to around 5.6 million child deaths every year. Over 50% of Indian children are underweight, mainly due to shortage of food and ineffective delivery mechanism, which further make 7 million under the age of five severely malnourished; and other developing nations aren’t so different in that regard.

Developed nations, on the other hand, are fighting with obesity. As per WHO estimates, over 22 million children under the age of five are estimated to be overweight worldwide. In US, the number of overweight children has doubled since the past two decades. Obesity in American youths (aged 12-17) increased from 5% to 13% in boys and from 5% to 9% in girls between 1966-70 and 1988-91. Obesity related plans account for 7% of total health care expenditure in developed nations. Even the US first lady Michelle Obama was forced to ask the food and beverage industry to market nutritious, and not junk foods to kids.

It’s ironic that while one set of nations suffers obesity, another set suffers malnourishment. And both these situations bring extremely worrisome health issues to the fore. Although the suggestion might even seem churlish, the real challenge now is to understand how to handle the surplus of food in developed nations better and re-route the same to the rest of the world. A utopian world would surely be one of unequivocal nourishment.

By:- Sray Agarwal
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