CRF Blog

China’s hungry

by David De La Torre

In The hungry and forgotten, The Economist reports on nutrition in China.

China used to have more undernourished people than anywhere in the world except India: about 300m, or 30% of the population in 1980. Economic growth has pulled half of them out of poverty and hunger. But that still leaves about 150m, mainly in the countryside. Out of 88m children aged six to 15 in the poorest rural areas, around a third suffer from anaemia because of a lack of iron, according to survey data. Iron deficiency can stunt brain development, meaning many of these children will grow up ill- equipped to better their lot. “They are far behind compared with urban kids,” says Lu Mai, secretary- general of China Development Research Foundation (CDRF), a government- run charity. Mr Lu and other experts have been prodding the government to do more. The state subsidises school lunches for 23m children in the 680 poorest counties, as well as nutritional supplements for hundreds of thousands of babies. It is not enough.

Even where children get the calories they need — as most do in rural China — they are not being fed the right things. [more]