What is Hidden Hunger?
Hidden hunger within the UK is huge, under-reported and often a misunderstood issue. But do many people know what hidden hunger is, and what is being done to change it?
It is estimated that around 2 billion people globally suffer from a form of micro-nutritional deficit. The World Health Organisation believes this occurs when the quality of food we eat does not meet the nutrient requirements as it is deficient in micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that are essential for growth and development in children and young adults.
The causes of hidden hunger are multi-factorial. People often over-indulge on carb full energy dense and nutritionally poor foods which are an obvious issue. But many foods we often think are nutritionally superior are in fact far from it and due to high levels of processing that can take place within the food industry today. These processes often remove or sometimes destroy vital micro-nutrients.
Food production systems have also changed enormously over the past 3 decades. For example, more than 50% of all fish consumed is now farmed and some types of fish are now showing substantially lower micro-nutrients when compared to fish caught in the wild. This combined with the production of large amounts of carbon dioxide through heavy industries has been shown to reduce some vital soil components such as zinc and iron from soils into the plants we eat.
Fortified foods involved adding vitamins and minerals into foods and drinks that are not naturally occurring within the product to begin with. You will often find that most supermarkets stock a form of yogurt with additional benefits, or even mayonnaise with added omega 3. These fortified foods allow additional nutrients into the diets of families through every day food items.
Fortified foods were introduced in the 1930’s and 1940’s. They were intended to help boost the vitamin and mineral intake with foods that adults and children were already eating, such as grains and milk.
In some cases, fortified or enriched foods are helpful. They can help fill in the gaps and increase a vitamin and mineral consumption that would otherwise be less than the recommended value.
How can food supplements help?
To ensure the vitamins and minerals being missed within foods are being absorbed by the body, a multivitamin for both adults and children can assure the body has essential nutrients for overall health.
Although a family may consume vegetables with every meal, aims to eat healthily but lives on a budget, the way mass marketed foods are processed will affect their nutrient levels. It is essential for development and growth in children, but also for the maintenance of eyes, skin and overall health in older adults.
Zinc and iron are desperately needed for brain and immune system development in growing children. There are several clinical studies that show the positive impact of calcium supplementation on bone mineral content in children from a variety of countries, such as the USA, China and Nigeria.
By including food supplements aimed at these nutrition deficits can impact the loyalty a family will attach to a brand. If your supplement brand can provide an adult and child version of a multivitamin that will cover important and essential vitamins at a suitable price to be taken just once per day, it slowly becomes a consumer’s routine.