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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Copenhagen Consensus: Malnutrition and Hunger Assessment, Behrman Alderman Hoddinott

Assessment Paper

By Jere R. Behrman, Harold Alderman and John Hoddinott.

The working paper used by the Expert Panel is available for download here, the finalized paper has been published in Global Crises, Global Solutions by Cambridge University Press.

While episodes of severe hunger such as famines receive considerable press coverage and attract much public attention, chronic hunger and malnutrition is considerably more prevalent in developing countries.

It is estimated that at least 12 million low-birth-weight births occur per year and that around 162 million pre-school children and almost a billion people of all ages are malnourished.

In poorly nourished populations, reductions in hunger and improved nutrition convey considerable productivity gains as well as saving resources that otherwise would be used for the care of malnourished people who are more susceptible to infectious diseases and premature mortality. While reducing hunger and malnutrition is often justified on intrinsic grounds, it is these potential gains in productivity and reductions in economic costs that provide the focus of this challenge paper.