How important is getting the right kind of food? According to a World Bank report, it's very important, perhaps more important than previously assumed.
The report warns that young children who don't eat enough food, or more specifically, children who don't eat enough of the right kind of food, suffer lasting damage. At aged two and under, the children are underweight and underdeveloped. They are more susceptible to disease, and may also suffer from health problems later in life. They generally have lower intelligence levels. This leads to malnourished children who, as they get older, are more likely to drop out of school and earn less money as adults. In some drought affected regions of Africa, for example, the number of hungry children hovers as high as 30%. But India, Southeast Asia, and parts of South America face similar problems.
Although the news proves alarming on a humanitarian level alone, there are economic implications, too. Combating malnutrition absorbs as much as 3% of a developing country's annual GDP, the same report indicates. When you take into account an annual growth rate of two or three percent for many of these countries, reducing the number of malnourished could then help double their economic growth. Yet many developing countries and international aid organizations are failing to take effective action.
Rather than simply provide more food, the World Bank report suggests establishing educational programs in health and nutrition for mothers with young babies. It also recommends more sanitary living conditions and improvements in health care.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Title: Speculate and/or discuss the contents of today's article from its title: "Poor Nutrition in the Developing World."
Fill in the Blank: Fill in the blank with the correct word.
- Children who don't get the proper food ( ) from malnutrition.
- There can be ( ) damage for children who don't eat the right kinds of food.
- Hungry people are more ( ) to disease.
- Children who are ( ) are more likely to drop out of school.
- ( ) is a serious problem in some parts of Africa, affecting the people's food supply.
- Malnutrition's harmful effects are alarming for any ( ).
- There are economic ( ) for countries with large numbers of poor and hungry.
- The report ( ) that 3% of a country's GDP goes towards fighting malnutrition.
- More programs about health and ( ) need to be set up.
- The report recommends better ( ) conditions.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- Do you ever think about the poor and the hungry of the world?
- What can be done to fight malnutrition?
- Who should fight malnutrition, the first world with massive economies, or countries where the problem exists?
- Could a problem like this happen in your country?
- What will be done to help because of this report?
Google Search: Type "malnutrition" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.