Climate change could increase number of undernourished women and children by 20 percent

Today almost half a billion women and children under five in the developing world are undernourished. That number could increase by 20 percent in the next ten years due to the effects of climate change on global food production, according to an analysis by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, chaired by Harvard School of Public Health Dean Julio Frenk, and partners.

The report predicts that the impact of climate change and population growth on food production and pricing will lead to a global food production deficit. This deficit could increase by 100 million the number of undernourished women and children by 2020. Food security is one of the main issues being discussed this month at both the Group of 20 summit in Mexico and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Undernutrition is a determinant of poor health and it is women and children who suffer the most,” Frenk said in a June 20, 2012 USA Today article. “Maternal undernutrition can continue in children, extending the cycle for at least three generations.”

Read USA Today article

Learn more

Food security and climate change (PMNH release)

Low-income countries committed to improving health of mothers and children (HSPH News)

A women and health agenda: It’s time (Harvard Public Health Review)