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Hidden Hunger

Hidden Hunger occurs when there is a lack of vitamins and minerals required for healthy growth and development. Also known as micronutrient deficiency, Hidden Hunger affects 1 in 3 children and up to 2 billion people in the world.

Hidden Hunger is not just a concern for people in developing countries. The modern diet in affluent countries often lacks many necessary micronutrients due to processing, an over-reliance on fast food and unhealthy dietary preferences.

As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fortification refers to “the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.

Food fortification has been identified as the second strategy of four by the WHO and FAO to begin decreasing the incidence of nutrient deficiencies at the global level. Undernutrition and nutrient deficiency is estimated globally to cause the deaths of between 3 and 5 million people per year.

At Foodness we see fortification as an effective and low-cost way to improve micronutrient intake for everyone without asking them to change their eating habits or take pills. A balanced and varied diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and protein would certainly be the best way to have a healthy diet. Unfortunately, this is not a reality for so many. Fortification is a way to close the gap.

Micro-nutrients

Vitamins

Essential for energy production, a healthy immune system, improving cognitive functions, improve fetal development, and women’s reproductive functions

Minerals

Important for bone health, fluid balance, prevent anemia, development of the nervous system, lower fetal mortality

You can find out about the importance of micronutrients by reading these articles from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Harvard Health.

According to the United Nations:

fighting hunger is not only about filling empty stomachs. Hidden hunger – the lack of micronutrients- affects the everyday life of billions of people. Especially vulnerable are children under the age of three.

Hidden hunger is a chronic lack of vitamins and minerals that often has no visible warning signs, so that people who suffer from it may not even be aware of it. Its consequences are nevertheless disastrous: hidden hunger can lead to mental impairment, poor health and productivity, or even death.

It is estimated that one in three children in the world suffers from the lack of micronutrients – a threat to both the intellectual and physical development of the child. The total number of people suffering from hidden hunger is estimated to be as high as 2 billion.”



Impacts of Hidden Hunger
Video by the World Food Program
Story of Food Fortification
Video by DSM

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