Food security does not assure good nutrition. The nutritional status of an individual is influenced not only by food but also by nonfood factors, such as clean water, sanitation, and health care. The effect of all of these factors must be considered in efforts to rid the world of malnutrition. Food security will result in good nutrition only if nonfood factors are effectively dealt with. In this paper, Lawrence Haddad, Saroj Bhattarai, Maarten Immink, and Shubh Kumar show how malnutrition among preschool children is determined by a complex interaction of illness and lack of food. The authors look at three countries -Ethiopia, Pakistan, and the Philippines - to study how food availability and diarrhea interact and what this interaction means for preschooler malnutrition. Their results show that the links between food consumption, diarrhea, and malnutrition are stronger than most economic studies have assumed. When diarrhea is prevalent, the effects of food shortages on child malnutrition are worse, and when food is scarce, the effects of diarrhea on child malnutrition are worse.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)