Quarter of population undernourished – FAO report

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A new report from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization has ranked Antigua and Barbuda second to Haiti in the prevalence of undernourishment among the population.
The findings are part of the report, “Panorama of Food and Nutritional Security in Latin America and the Caribbean 2017,” developed together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
According to the report, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Bolivia all had percentages of undernourishment above 20 percent. Undernourishment was tagged at 27 percent of the population in the twin-island state.
“It’s easy to find homes with one child suffering malnutrition and an overweight mother, or a child with both malnutrition and overweight plus a vitamin and mineral deficiency,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said in the report.
Haiti, consistently ranked the most undernourished in the region, was pegged at 47 percent.
The report notes that hunger levels are still low in Latin America and the Caribbean compared with some other parts of the world, but there are signs the situation is deteriorating, particularly in South America, where hunger grew from 5 percent in 2015 to 5.6 percent in 2016.
Malnutrition affected 6.5 percent of the Central American population in 2016 and 17.7 percent in the Caribbean, the sub-region with the highest percentage. Country-by-country data show big differences in
the region, where a
group made up of Brazil, Cuba and Uruguay had a hunger rate of less than 2.5 percent.
They were followed by Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago, with hunger rates of 5 percent or less.
As it relates specifically to the Caribbean, the FAO said the number of undernourished persons declined from 8.1 million in 1990-92, to 7.5 million in 2014-16. For the same period, the proportion of undernourished persons declined from 27 percent to 19.8 percent.
“Three Caribbean Community countries – Barbados, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – have met both global hunger targets set in 1996 by the World Food Summit and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in 2000.”
Meanwhile, the report states that obesity is a widespread and growing phenomenon in the region with Antigua and Barbuda once again taking a dubious starring role.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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