A recent Europe-wide study extracted the percentage of healthy people below the EAR (Estimated Average Requirement) from various national surveys. The EAR is the daily intake value estimated to meet the requirement in half of apparently healthy individuals in a life stage or gender group. Being below EAR means being at an increased risk of deficiency.
Deficiencies in certain micronutrients can carry noticeable effects on an individual’s health. A lack of calcium and vitamin D, for example, can have a strong impact on bone density and lead to the development of osteoporosis as a person gets older, severely impacting quality of life.
A deficiency in micronutrients is even more serious during pregnancy. Data has shown that the levels of iron, iodine, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies in pregnant women and children below the age of five are comparable between low- and high-income countries. These deficiencies can carry consequences of varying severity.
So it is not just a lack of access to food that leads to deficiencies and so-called hidden hunger, as is often the case in low-income countries, but even in high-income countries this is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Read more about the solutions to hidden hunger in both low- and high-income countries here.
Biesalski HK, Drewnowski A, Dwyer JT, Strain JJ, Weber P, Eggersdorfer M. Sustainable Nutrition in a Changing World. Springer. 2017:143-166.View Archive