GUYANA:  43% of Guyanese can’t afford healthy diet, 5% undernourished- FAO report

 43% of Guyanese can’t afford healthy diet, 5% undernourished- FAO report

With Guyana’s population averaging around 800,000 the five percent of undernourished people works out to about 40,000. Titled “REGIONAL OVERVIEW OF 2022: TOWARDS IMPROVING AFFORDABILITY OF HEALTHY DIETS,” the report also concluded that in 2020, 42 percent of the population in the world could not afford a healthy diet, almost 3.1 billion people. Due to the higher cost of a healthy diet, this percentage in Latin America and the Caribbean was 22.5 percent, or 131 million people, an increase of 8 million from 2019. According to the report South America accounts for 57 percent of people unable to afford a healthy diet in Latin America and the Caribbean (74.2 million), followed by Mesoamerica (43.1 million) and the Caribbean (13.9 million). More than half of the Caribbean population (52 percent) cannot afford a healthy diet, followed by Mesoamerica (27.8 percent) and South America (18.4 percent).               

Meanwhile, the FAO said its prevalence of undernourishment indicator is derived from country data on food supply, food consumption and energy needs, taking into consideration demographic characteristics such as age, sex, and levels of physical activity.

Designed to capture a state of energy deprivation lasting over a year, this indicator does not reflect short-lived effects of temporary crises or inadequate intake of essential nutrients, the FAO said. According to the FAO it strives continuously to improve the accuracy of the PoU estimates by taking into account new information, and the entire historical series is updated for each report.

The FAO said Undernourishment in Latin America and the Caribbean now sits between 7.5 and 9.7 percent. Considering the middle point, in 2021 hunger affected 8.6 percent of the region’s population, the highest since 2006. Hunger in the region had been growing steadily even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The prevalence of hunger increased by 22.5 percent in the world between 2015 and 2021 – 1.8 percentage points – while the prevalence rose in Latin America and the Caribbean by 48.3 percent in the same period – 2.8 percentage points. Since 2014, when it was at its lowest rate, hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean has been increasing at a faster pace, in particular between 2019 and 2021, getting closer to the world’s average. Undernourishment varies within each subregion and country. Most of the people affected by hunger in the Caribbean are in Haiti. In the period between 2019 and 2021, nearly half its population 47.2 percent) – around 5.4 million people– were undernourished. By comparison, the prevalence of undernourishment on the other end of the spectrum was around 7 percent in Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

In Mesoamerica, Nicaragua was the country with the highest prevalence of undernourishment (18.6 percent) in the 2019–2021 period, followed by Guatemala (16 percent), and Honduras 15.3 percent, which, amounts to almost 5 million hungry people in these three countries (1.2, 2.9, and 1.5, respectively). In Mexico, the largest country of the sub-region, the prevalence of undernourishment was 6.1 percent (7.8 million people).

In South America, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela had the highest prevalence of undernourishment (22.9 percent), which in absolute numbers equals 6.5 million people, followed by Ecuador with 15.4 percent (2.7 million), and the Plurinational State of Bolivia with 13.9 percent (1.6 million).

In Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname the prevalence is over 8 percent. It is worth noting that Brazil has one of the lowest rates in the region (4.1 percent), but the highest number of undernourished people (8.6 million). A look at hunger trends in the region’s countries shows that hunger notably increased, by 18.4 percentage points, in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, or 5 million more hungry people between the 2013–2015 and 2019–2021 periods. And in those periods hunger increased by 6.7 percentage points in Ecuador (1.3 million), by 4.6 percentage points in Haiti (900 thousand), and by 1.6 percentage points in Brazil (3.4 million more people).

The report states that in the Caribbean, despite the significant increase in the cost of a healthy diet, the number of people who could not afford it showed the smallest increase (less than 500 000 people). In Latin America and the Caribbean, the percentage of the population that cannot afford a healthy diet differs greatly between subregions as well as between countries Among the Caribbean countries, the vast majority of the population of Haiti (85.9 percent) cannot afford a healthy diet, and in Jamaica more than two-thirds of the population (66.2 percent) cannot afford it.

In the Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia, close to 20 percent of the population is unable to afford a healthy diet. In Mesoamerica, over half of Honduras’ population (51.3 percent) cannot afford a healthy diet, nor can more than a third of the people in Nicaragua and Belize (35.7 and 36.4 percent), and more than a quarter in Mexico (26.3 percent). In Panama and Costa Rica, less than 20 percent of the population cannot afford a healthy diet. Lastly, Suriname (58.8 percent) and Guyana (43 percent) are the two South American countries with the highest percentage of people that cannot afford a healthy diet. Almost a quarter of the population of the Plurinational State of Bolivia cannot afford a healthy diet, while in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru around 20 percent of the population cannot. In Chile and Uruguay, on the other hand, less than 4 percent of the population cannot afford a healthy diet.

Cost of a healthy diet

The report stated that for Latin America and the Caribbean specifically, healthy diets were found to be four times more expensive than an energy-sufficient diet. It said almost a quarter of the region’s population (22.5 percent) cannot afford a healthy diet. Lowering the cost of nutritious foods and improving access to healthy diets is critical to eradicating hunger, improving food security and reducing malnutrition in all its forms. Not doing so will impede the progress countries can make towards SDG 2, which seeks to eliminate hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030. Malnutrition is also linked to poverty and other development outcomes, and hampers the achievement of other SDGs.

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Comments

  • theonly  On 01/20/2023 at 4:30 pm

    More B S from the biggest B S.

  • Age  On 01/20/2023 at 11:50 pm

    Food prices and land prices are skyrocketing in Guyana, so that means more money is required for food expenses.

    Even observed that food prices are based on what the oil companies are paying, so that means that the average working class Guyanese has to pay expat prices for some food items.

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