Thursday, 13 November 2014

Bloated with malnutrition

An example of malnutrition
from the BBC

If too many mince pies, too much turkey, roast spuds, stuffing and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pud and lashings of cream are a little too much for you this festive season, then you may be comforted to know that your bloated feeling is a temporary bout of malnutrition.

From the ever-vigilant BBC we are reminded that obesity is also a form of malnutrition.

Dr Haddad, a senior research fellow for the International Food Policy Research Institute, highlighted three areas that the report focused on.

"The first thing we did was to say that we were not just going to focus on undernutrition, which is closely related to hunger, but also overnutrition and obesity," he explained. "Malnutrition just means bad nutrition."

It makes a kind of sense I suppose because as Dr Haddad says, malnutrition is merely bad nutrition, but surely it was useful as a word for not having enough to eat. The NHS seems to prefer that usage. From 

Definition of malnutrition in English:


Lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things, or being unable to use the food that one does eat:over 40,000 children die every day from malnutrition and disease.

Well words shift and evolve I suppose and no harm is done once people become familiar with new usage. However, further down the BBC piece we gain a hint of the bureaucratic wheels grinding away, constantly seeking to expand the the Sacred Remit.

Dr Haddad explained: "One of the big messages is that just because globally we are off-track, do not get discouraged because there is some very significant progress being made by very significant countries, such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India.

"This is fantastic and if those countries are joined by some other countries then we can easily be back on to achieving global targets."

However, he lamented the quality of the available data: "We say that the state of the data regarding nutrition is terrible.

"We could only find three countries where we could actually find data that properly showed how much was being spent on nutrition.

"Accountability in the nutrition sector is weak because the data is not very good. It is not about naming and shaming, it is about what needs to be done in order to improve accountability."

What is meant by accountability here I wonder?


Sam Vega said...

Interesting, isn't it? I thought at first that Dr. Haddad was the head of something important, but it turns out that the International Food Policy Research Institute is just a name that labels some of the academic activities at Sussex Uni. Whenever I see "Institute" I think gleaming American building which houses important and massively well-funded and secretive science or politics. But it usually turns out to be some tawdry academic scam to get research funding. So I suspect "accountability" here is less thrilling than the idea that we will individually or collectively be held to account for our food. It probably means that he wants more data so he can cobble together an account of it.

I checked out his Wiki page, and it bears all the signs of being written by himself: jokey references to his pastimes, etc.

He is a dreary accountant, and he can fuck right off.

A K Haart said...

Sam - it is interesting. I'm sure there is an issue with academia in that many academics could be sacked with no loss to anyone but themselves.

Demetrius said...

This is a complicated area. There could be a range of factors:

Another, not mentioned, is how easy it is now in many places to get food on demand and at cheap prices relative to the past.

In the 1940's there was little or no problem.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I suspect lifestyle is important too. More walking and cycling, more manual work and more laborious housework. It only requires a few hundred unused calories per day.