Synthesis and Conclusions

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

 Synthesis and Conclusions

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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

Chapter.  10253 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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