From Individual Calorie Requirements to Per‐Capita Calorie Cut‐Off Points

Peter Svedberg

in Poverty and Undernutrition

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780198292685
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596957 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

 From Individual Calorie Requirements to Per‐Capita Calorie Cut‐Off Points

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The hurdles encountered in going from estimating calorie requirements for individuals to establishing a minimum per person calorie norm for households are analysed in Ch. 9. Households’ per person minimum calorie requirement differs according to household structure (size, age, and sex composition), but the FAO has no data for a single population on this distribution, or its correlation to the distribution of households’ availability of calories. Therefore, the FAO has established a uniform norm for all households in respective populations, which reflect the minimum per person calorie requirement of a household with the same age and sex composition as the population as a whole in the respective country. This short cut invariably means that a bias is introduced in the estimates of the prevalence of undernutrition; some households with below‐average requirements will be erroneously classified as undernourished, while other households with above average requirements will erroneously be classified as well nourished. The net bias will be large for certain combinations of values of the key parameters, and also of varying size for different countries, signifying compromised comparability across countries.

Keywords: calorie availability; calorie norm; calorie requirement; FAO; household structure; sex composition; undernutrition

Chapter.  5961 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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