Hunger and malnutrition in the countries of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
NU. CEPAL. División de Desarrollo Social
Includes bibliographyThe current nutritional situation of Latin America and the Caribbean is another indicator of its social inequalities. With food production currently tripling the energy requirements of the population, there are 53 million people who have no access to sufficient food, whereas 7 percent of children under five have low weight and 16 percent have low height per age. In this way, the characteristics shown by the nutritional profile of the Latin American and Caribbean population are not random but a reflection of the great income inequalities and of the insufficient relevance given to food and nutrition in these countries' political agendas. Aware of the importance of the problem, in 2003 the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); and the Regional Office of the World Food Programme (WFP); signed a threeyear agreement aimed at describing and analyzing the characteristics of hunger and malnutrition in the countries of the region. The first report gave a global look at the regional problem and analyzed the Central American countries in detail. The report concluded that the sub-region's greater vulnerability lies in the high incidence that inequality has in causing hunger, together with certain problems of supply stability (derived from the environmental vulnerability and the lower price of coffee);, and the high level of chronic malnutrition in the sub-region. The second report analyzed the situation of four Andean countries, underlining the major vulnerability problems affecting the poor and indigenous populations living in rural mountain ranges. On this occasion the research deals with the reality of hunger and malnutrition in the countries of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS);, which groups 25 Caribbean, Central American, and South American countries.1 It provides an analysis of the phenomenon in these countries within the regional context. This study, the main findings of which are provided in the following pages, includes a description of the characteristics of extreme poverty, food security, malnutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies, with a look at the prospects of fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. As well, it identifies vulnerable groups and the economic effects associated with malnutrition, and describes the main policies and programs under implementation, together with proposals aimed at maximizing the cost effectiveness of such interventions.