Essay on Undernutrition

10122 Words Feb 3rd, 2015 41 Pages
Proper nutrition is a powerful good: people who are well nourished are more likely to be healthy, productive and able to learn. Good nutrition benefits families, their communities and the world as a whole.
Undernutrition is, by the same logic, devastating. It blunts the intellect, saps the productivity of everyone it touches and perpetuates poverty.
Stunting - or low height for age - traps people into a lifelong cycle of poor nutrition, illness, poverty and inequity. The damage to physical and cognitive development, especially during the first two years of a child’s life, is largely irreversible. A child’s poorer school performance results in future income reductions of up to 22 per cent on average. As adults, they are also at increased
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Three billion people depend on rice as their staple food, with 10 percent at risk for vitamin A deficiency, which, according to the World Health Organization, causes 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind each year. Of these, half die within a year. A study from the British medical journal the Lancet estimates that, in total, vitamin A deficiency kills 668,000 children under the age of 5 each year.
Yet, despite the cost in human lives, anti-GM campaigners—from Greenpeace toNaomi Klein—have derided efforts to use golden rice to avoid vitamin A deficiency. In India, Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist and adviser to the government, called golden rice “a hoax” that is “creating hunger and malnutrition, not solving it.”
The New York Times Magazine reported in 2001 that one would need to “eat 15 pounds of cooked golden rice a day” to get enough vitamin A. What was an exaggeration then is demonstrably wrong now. Two recent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that just 50 grams (roughly two ounces) of golden rice can provide 60 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. They show that golden rice is even better than spinach in providing vitamin A to children.
Opponents maintain that there are better ways to deal with vitamin A deficiency. In its latest statement, Greenpeace says that golden rice is “neither needed nor necessary,” and calls instead for supplementation and fortification,

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