lunes, 30 de octubre de 2017

There is less hunger in the world | MercatorNet |October 30, 2017| MercatorNet |

There is less hunger in the world

| MercatorNet |October 30, 2017| MercatorNet |

There is less hunger in the world

Despite population growth.
Shannon Roberts | Oct 30 2017 | comment 

Over the last four decades the number of underweight children and adolescents worldwide has decreased despite population growth, according to a recent study published in The Lancet this month.  However, obesity has increased. 
From 1975 to 2016, children's and adolescents' age-standardised mean BMI increased globally and in most regions.  Overall, the prevalence of ‘moderate and severe underweight’ children decreased from 9·2% in 1975 to 8·4% in 2016 in girls and from 14·8% in 1975 to 12·4% in 2016 in boys.  However, the global prevalence of obesity increased from 0·7% in 1975 to 5·6% in 2016 in girls, and from 0·9% in 1975 to 7·8% in 2016 in boys.
The study pooled 2416 population-based studies on 128·9 million participants aged 5 years and older.  It then estimated trends from 1975 to 2016 in 200 countries for mean BMI, classifying people into the following five categories: moderate and severe underweight, mild underweight, healthy weight, overweight but not obese, and obesity. 
The largest proportional decline in the prevalence of moderate and severe underweight children occurred in Polynesia and Micronesia and in southern Africa, where prevalence declined by an average of up to one third per decade for girls and by about one fifth per decade for boys from 1975 to 2016. 
In 2016, Ethiopia had the lowest age-standardised mean BMI for both sexes.  Other countries with low BMI in both sexes in 2016 were Niger, Senegal, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Cambodia.  At the other extreme, age-standardised mean BMI was more than 24 kg/m2 in girls and boys in the Cook Islands and Niue and girls in Samoa, which was greater than that for adults in over 36 countries. 
Being underweight, overweight, or obese during childhood and adolescence is associated with adverse health consequences.  It is clear that we need to continue to work on food security in low-income countries and households, especially in south Asia. In a recent comprehensive study,Oxfam identified that that overconsumption, misuse of resources and waste increase hunger.  A lack of investment in agriculture and infrastructure in impoverished countries also plays a part, as does politics and corruption.  Yet the experiences of east Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean also show that the transition from underweight to overweight and obesity can be rapid, and needs to be managed in a healthy way. 
However, this is another study that makes clear that the population growth over the last four decades has not led to more hunger.


October 30, 2017

Tomorrow brings that ubiquitous American festival, Halloween, which increasingly makes itself Down Under. Zac Alstin laments this development and has posted his theses against it. “Halloween in Australia is profoundly meaningless, deeply inauthentic,” he writes. “On the other hand, an increasing number of Australians feel like doing it… And what could be more authentically Australian than people doing what they want, because they enjoy it?” What indeed.

Today, however, is National Cat Day in the United States and that is an observance I could live with if it reached this part of the world. The US Poetry Foundation alerted me to it via today’s poem (they send one every day) by Christopher Smart, an 18th century gentleman who was better at experimenting with poetry than providing for his wife and children, sad to say.

Amongst a number of pieces in a collection called Jubilato Agno is a delightful poem about his cat, somewhat Biblical in style and explicitly Christian in its worldview (he had been intended originally for the Church). Here are the opening lines:

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself

The rest is here, for the enjoyment of all cat lovers.

We are getting in early with our Scrooge-like take on Halloween because we are ahead in time and also because there will not a newsletter tomorrow. For the time being we are cutting back to three newsletters a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Happy Halloween, if it’s your thing!

Carolyn Moynihan
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There is less hunger in the world

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