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Malnutrition

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Summary Article: malnutrition from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide

Condition resulting from a defective diet where certain important food nutrients (such as proteins, vitamins, or carbohydrates) are absent. It can lead to deficiency diseases. A related problem is undernourishment. A high global death rate linked to malnutrition has arisen from famine situations caused by global warming, droughts, and the greenhouse effect, as well as by socio-political factors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, and war.

In 1998 there was an estimated 180 million malnourished children in the world and malnutrition contributed to 6 million deaths annually, mainly among children.

In a report released at the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996, the World Bank warned of an impending international food crisis. In 1996, more than 800 million people were unable to get enough food to meet their basic needs. Eighty-two countries, half of them in Africa, did not grow enough food for their own people; nor could they afford to import it. The World Bank calculated that food production would have to double over the next 30 years as the world population increases. Contrary to earlier predictions, food stocks and particularly grain stocks fell during the 1990s.

By 1996, 20 countries did not have enough water to meet people's needs, and water tables were falling in crucial regions such as the American Midwest, India, and China. Meanwhile, 90 million people are added to the planet's population every year. The increasingly prosperous and populous nations of East Asia are placing pressure on supplies; as people become wealthier they often eat more meat, which is a less efficient use of resources.

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