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Poverty and UndernutritionTheory, Measurement, and Policy$
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Peter Svedberg

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198292685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198292686.001.0001

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Synthesis and Conclusions

Synthesis and Conclusions

(p.297) 18 Synthesis and Conclusions
Poverty and Undernutrition

Peter Svedberg (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This final chapter first summarizes the main reasons why the FAO method for estimating undernutrition fails and why the anthropometric approach—despite shortcomings—is to be preferred. It also offers some tentative answers to some of the puzzles identified earlier, e.g. why the incidence of undernutrition is by far the largest in sub‐Saharan Africa while in South Asia, it depends on what indicator of undernutrition is consulted. Finally, this chapter critically discusses the main policy advice emanating from the FAO on how to alleviate undernutrition: enhancement of national food production. It is argued that the emphasis should be on food affordability rather than food availability. Food affordability for the poor can only be accomplished through equitable and broad‐based economic growth that reduces poverty. Economic poverty is the basic cause of not only undernutrition but also of most other social and health‐related plights facing people in sub‐Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Keywords:   Africa, anthropometric approach, Asia, economic growth, FAO, food affordability, food availability, poverty, undernutrition

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