The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides estimates of the prevalence of undernutrition which it claims are comparable over countries and time. These estimates form the empirical foundation for the resolution adopted by 186 governments at the World Food Summit in 1996, with the intent of reducing the number of undernourished people by half before the year 2015. This paper demonstrates that the FAO estimation method (a) provides unreliable indicators of the scope of the undernutrition problem, (b) erroneously finds chronic undernutrition to be most prevalent in Africa, (c) points policy in the wrong direction, and (d) is not suitable for monitoring progress toward the 2015 objective. Anthropometric measurements are more reliable and relevant for all purposes for which indicators of undernutrition are needed.
World Development – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 1999
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