|News & Views - A 2020 vision for food, agriculture, and the environment - April 2000: Fighting Hidden Hunger (IFPRI, 1999, 6 p.)|
It takes more than just food to cut child malnutrition in the developing world, according to a new 2020 Vision discussion paper. Overcoming Child Malnutrition In Developing Countries: Past Achievements and Future Choices by Lisa C. Smith and Lawrence Haddad presents the results of pioneering research on what factors have helped reduce child malnutrition in the developing world in the last 25 years.
Women's education accounted for a large share of the reduction in child malnutrition, owing to its strong influence on child nutrition. Increases in per capita food availability came next in importance, followed by improvements in health environments and women's status.
The magnitude of child malnutrition is serious and projected to remain so, according to the study. Today about one-third of the children under age five in developing countries - 167 million children - are malnourished. Even under the most optimistic projections of future levels, as many as 128 million children could still be malnourished in 2020.
These numbers point to the need for strong action to accelerate improvements in the underlying factors responsible for good child nutrition, particularly women's and girls' education, say Smith and Haddad. Their discussion paper makes policy recommendations in a number of areas based on their findings.
To download Overcoming Child Malnutrition in Developing Countries, Discussion Paper 30, from IFPRI's website, go to www.cgiar.org/ifpri/2020/welcome.htm.