Hunger, obesity and poor nutrition, which are said to be the a health burden in developing countries, also comes up with a hidden economic penalty and costs about 850 billion dollars a year, a new report said.
The researchers said that direct costs of productivity loss would be between 130 billion dollars and 850 billion dollars a year in developing nations where the prevalence of malnutrition is high. The report compiled by Vivid Economics group said that it was equivalent to between 0.4 per cent and 2.9 percent of the combined gross domestic product of the countries.
Moreover, the researchers also asked the governments and businesses to mainly focus on nutrition for recovery in the midst of coronavirus pandemic. They noted that malnutrition was a hindrance to recovering from risks like infectious disease outbreaks and extreme climate events. It also led to reduction in productivity and earnings, the study said.
Pointing out that costs of undernutrition and obesity to governments and societies are well explored, lead researchers Laura Wellesley was quoted as saying that the risk and costs to companies have always remained under the scanner.
The report extrapolated the results from modelling 19 lower- and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, Central America and Europe.
The Global Nutrition Report 2020 said that about one in nine people are undernourished or hungry. And one in three people are overweight or obese, the report said. Almost a quarter of children under five are stunted.
Wellesley said that undernutrition and obesity were outcomes of poor nutrition. Both these should be overcome if the malnutrition burden on companies and societies should be slowed down. She said fair living wage, providing breastfeeding support for mothers, education on how to eat healthily and subsidising nutritious food for staff should be encouraged to meet the goals.