Food price crisis can lead to deteriorating nutrition

By Jessica Martin

As fuel prices soar, food prices are beginning to creep up to crisis levels most recently seen in 2007.

“Coupled with the financial crisis, high can take a significant toll on nutrition, especially in developing countries,” says Lora Iannotti, PhD, a public health expert and professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

“The same consequences can be true for wealthier countries, as households opt for less expensive, poor quality foods. Hidden hunger is a problem across the globe.”

Iannotti and Miguel Robles, PhD, from the International Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) examined the effects of food price hikes on calorie consumption in seven Latin American countries.

“During a food price crisis, households moved away from ‘luxury’ food items such as meat, fish and dairy products to poorer quality food,” she says.

Using data from nationally representative household budget surveys, Iannotti and colleagues found that during a food price crisis:

· Calorie intake was reduced by an average eight percent from precrisis levels.

· Rural areas and urban areas were equally affected.

· Wealthiest households actually increased caloric intake, exceeding 10 percent of pre-crisis levels.

“We are particularly concerned for families with young children,” Iannotti says.

“When you have a reduction in calories and critical nutrients for kids under two, there are long term consequences such as stunted growth, cognitive deficits, lower educational attainment and reduced future productivity. ”

The next phase of her study will focus on how a food price crisis impacts micronutrient consumption, specifically vitamin B12, iron, zinc and folate.

Iannotti’s study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Food and Nutrition Bulletin.

Related Stories

Mapping food deserts

date Mar 03, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Maps are great for showing where things are. They’re also good for showing where things aren’t.

999: The human face of economic crisis

date Sep 09, 2009

As the economy continues to unravel, a series of papers published today assess the effects of the crisis on children's health, education, and rights in East Asia and the Pacific. Crisis for Children, a special issue of the ...

Recommended for you

The controversial stop-smoking drug Champix is safe

date 7 minutes ago

The controversial smoking cessation drug Champix has been linked to suicidal side-effects but, according to a leading Adelaide respiratory researcher, Champix is safe and can improve someone's chances of kicking the habit.

Clinical trial reduces stress of cancer caregivers

date 17 hours ago

Stem cell transplant is essential in the care of many blood cancers, but leaves patients requiring in-home care for months after. Frequently the role of caregiver falls to family or other committed members ...

Video: Debunking three common food myths

date 17 hours ago

You might have heard that microwaving your food is dangerous. Maybe your health nut friend told you that eating frozen veggies is less healthful than eating fresh ones. Is a glass of red wine really good ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.