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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Health of US Children Jeopardized by Lack of Adequate Food

By Michael McBurney

According to Wikipedia, the United States is the world’s largest national economy, representing 22% of nominal global GDP. Since the economic crash in 2008,  U.S. GDP growth has exceeded 3.5% annually every year except 2009.  Nevertheless, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that 15 million children live in households struggling with hunger, a contributor to immediate and potentially lifelong health effects.

A Hidden Hunger Index was developed in 2013 based on iron-deficiency anemia, vitamin A deficiency and stunting (a proxy for zinc deficiency). This is one index. In the United States, it would be appropriate to include ‘shortfall nutrients’ identified in the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee – vitamin A, vitamin e, vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber and potassium. For adolescent females, one should also include iron.

The Global Nutrition Report shows that under-5 U.S. mortality rate has plateaued at 7% with 82% of the total population living in urban areas. 100% of UN member countries (193 in total) have a serious malnutrition problem. 45% of countries face the double burden of undernutrition combined with overweight, obesity, and/or nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases.

The United States, and most of the world, don’t have a good nutrition report card.

Main Citation

American Academy of Pediatrics Press Release. New AAP Report Targets Lack of Adequate Food as Ongoing Health Risk to U.S. Children. Oct 23, 1015

Other Citations

Ruel-Bergeron J, Stevens G, Sugimoto J, Rooz F, Ezzati M, Black R, Kraemer K. Global update and trends in hidden hunger, 1995-2011. 2015 FASEB J  29 (1): 579.7

Muthayya S, Rah JH, Sugimoto J, Rooz FR, Kraemer K, Black RE. The global Hidden Hunger Indices and maps: An advocacy tool for action. 2013 PloS ONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067860