Talking Nutrition Editors
Hidden hunger refers to a diet that is high in calories but lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, causing the body to become malnourished. Inadequate nutrition can have a devastating, long-lasting impact on human physical health and development, as well as placing a significant burden on healthcare systems. Nutritional shortfalls are particularly dangerous in pregnant women and infants, as poor nutrition increases the risk of stunting, childhood mortality and a variety of other issues.2 As hidden hunger is thought to affect a third of the population worldwide, it is therefore considered to be a major public health concern across the globe.
Fortification is a common solution to alleviate micronutrient deficiencies and fill the nutritional gaps caused by poor diets. Micronutrient powders (MNPs) is an example of point-of-use fortification that is scientifically proven to provide the nutrients that children need to thrive. Typically produced as single-dose one-gram sachets in a powder form, MNPs can be sprinkled on any ready-to-eat, semi-solid food at home. Multiple servings are also available for use in school feeding programs. Providing a convenient format for easy integration into meals, without affecting the taste and appearance of food, or eating habits, MNPs are widely used in effective and safe food-based intervention programs globally.
Discover more about how DSM supports the development of MNPs to help overcome malnutrition worldwide in the new whitepaper, ‘Micronutrient powders: Building brighter futures’.
For MNP fortification programs to be successful, it is important that parents and caregivers are educated on the benefits of fortification, correct usage of the product and proper hygienic practices in the preparation of complementary foods. The right polices also must be in place to ensure health services, including fortification programs, are made available to the most at-risk communities. Governments and NGOs play a crucial role in working with private industry to identify and implement sustainable feeding strategies that will meet country-specific goals and support thriving communities and economies.
DSM’s latest whitepaper explores the benefits MNPs offer and outlines the importance of ongoing education for their effective use. The publication of the whitepaper coincides with World Health Day, which will be celebrated worldwide on 7th April. This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing on universal health coverage – ensuring all individuals and communities have access to the affordable services they need to remain healthy. Currently, it is estimated that at least 50% of the world’s population still do not have full access to essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.
Anthony Hehir, Director – Nutrition Improvement, DSM Nutritional Products Human Nutrition & Health commented, “Overcoming the global malnutrition challenge is central to giving individuals the opportunity to reach their full cognitive and developmental potential, and helping communities to prosper. DSM’s expertise in tackling malnutrition within low-income populations and experience of partnering with governments and NGOs means it is well placed to support innovative and effective micronutrient powder interventions globally. As we celebrate World Health Day on 7th April, we are proud to be helping to address health and wellbeing through better nutrition.”
1. DSM, Essentials for kids and teens, Health benefit solutions.
2. D. T. Jamison, ‘Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, 2nd edition’, The World Bank, 2006.