ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Poverty and Malnutrition

Poverty and Malnutrition P V Sukhatme TEN years ago most of the malnutrition reported from nutrition surveys was believed to be the result of inadequate concentration and Quality of protein in the diet. So acute was believed to be the deficiency that developing countries were advised by the United Nations that unless immediate measures were taken to produce protein-rich foods and distribute them among children through special nutrition programmes, their economic, social and physical development would be completely arrested. Subsequent research however showed that the limiting factor in the diet of the developing countries was not protein, but energy. The latter depended primarily on the quantity of diet, which in turn were determined by the purchasing capacity of the people. The persistent nature of malnutrition thus came to be explained by the poverty of the people. So stark was the element of food in the deprivation of the people, that some 50 per cent of the people in India are estimated to be starving for want of adequate purchasing capacity. What is worse is that this proportion of the starving poor is reported to be rising. I am not, therefore, surprised that the problem of poverty and malnutrition continues to receive the active attention of the scholars, the press and the public.

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