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Georgia State University Course: World Hunger


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access availability of food to a person, household, or region.
acute immediate.
age-dependency ratio age-dependency ratio ratio of unproductive to productive members in a population; (% under 15 + % over 65)/(% 15-65).
agricultural productivity measure of the ability to increase food production without increasing the amount of land used to produce food.
amino acids building blocks for proteins.
anemia lower than normal hemoglobin concentration.
anorexia a very harmful "loss of appetite".
anthropometry measurement of physical dimensions.
beriberi disease caused by thiamin (a B vitamin) deficiency that has the following symptoms: irritability, fatigue, restlessness and decreased appetite.
bioavailability biological availability of the nutrients in a food. When a food contains nutrients that cannot be digested (released) and absorbed, the bioavailability of the nutrients is low. Even though they can be measured chemically, they cannot be used biologically.
biochemical assessment examination of body fluids, such as blood and urine, for the complex metabolic changes that accompany nutritional disorders.
bioengineering altering the genetic potential of living organisms.
biologically active causes a biochemical response or a physiological response.
BMI (body mass index) a measure of undernutrition (or overnutrition) calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters.
BMR (basal metabolic rate) the number of calories needed for survival when the body is at rest.
Calorie (kcal) a unit that measures the energy contained in food or the amount of energy used by the body.
cash crops crops that are exported.
chronic occurs over time.
complete protein food sources that contain all the essential amino acids in ratios needed by healthy people.
cretinism an irreversible syndrome caused by severe iodine deficiency during gestation and early postnatal growth. Cretinism is characterized by mental deficiency, spastic diplegia or quadriplegia, deaf mutism, dysarthria, a characteristic shuffling gait, shortened stature, and hypothyroidism.
DALE (disability adjusted life expectancy) the expected number of years to be lived in "full health".
DALY (disability adjusted life years) total amount of healthy life lost, whether from premature mortality or from temporary or permanent disability.
DES (dietary energy supply) [(food production + food imports)-(food exports + food spoilage + nonhuman uses of food, such as pet food)].
dietary recall subject is asked to remember what s/he ate, usually during the last 24 hours, 3 days, or 7 days.
dietary record record of the amount and types of food consumed, often after weighing it.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) the chemical found in nearly all cells containing genetic information.
DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes) series of micronutrient standards, largely used by the US and Canada.
drought lack of sufficient moisture at critical times for agricultural production.
extremely thin as a result of starvation.
addition of nutrients to meet a legal standard, i.e. US grain products are enriched with iron, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and folacin.
essential nutrient nutrient that must be in the diet. Vitamins, minerals, some amino acids, and some fatty acids are essential nutrients.
famine conditions
widespread and extreme food shortage leading to elevated mortality and mass movements of people in search of food.
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization (of the United Nations)
United Nations organization that focuses on food production and agriculture.
food balance sheet
annual human consumption for one commodity. It is estimated by adding up the beginning-of-the-year stocks, production and imports, and subtracting amount used as livestock feed, amount used for seed, and end-of-year stocks from this total exports.
food deprivation
individual malnutrition
food guidance instructions on selecting and handling foods to meet nutrient, economic, safety or other needs.
food-for-education programs programs that supply food to children in school (and sometimes to their families, as well).
food-for-work programs programs that supply food to people who work on public projects (and usually to their families, as well).
Food Guide Pyramid
primary food guidance tool used in the US. The Food Guide Pyramid is designed to meet micronutrient needs (RDAs) and reduce risk of chronic disease (Dietary Guidelines for Americans).
food poverty
inadequate food availability for a household
food price ceiling highest price set (by the government) for a food item to be sold.
food security access by all people at all times to enough food for an active healthy lifestyle.
food shortage the food supply within a region is less than the amount needed by that region's population.
fortification addition of nutrients to foods at levels above those found naturally, i.e. the addition of iodine to salt.
Get the Best from Your Food
primary food guidance tool used by the World Health Organization of the United Nations.
GIEWS (Global Information Early Warning System)
FAO's system for monitoring international food supplies and alerting nations to possible shortfalls.
genetically modified organism
GOBI "Growth monitoring, Oral rehydration therapy, Breast-feeding, and Immunizations."
UNICEF/WHO initiative for child survival.
enlargement of the thyroid gland. Goiter is a disease caused by chronic lack of iodine.
golden rice
genetically-modified rice that contains beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) and does not contain iron absorption inhibitors.
GR "Green Revolution"
agricultural methods that expand production through use of improved plant varieties and chemical inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, water).
growth monitoring repeated measurement of characteristics to track growth patterns in individuals.
heme type of iron found in muscle. Heme iron is better absorbed than iron in plants.
hidden hungers dietary problems that occur when people get the required calories and protein but still suffer from life-threatening conditions because they do not get enough vitamins and minerals, i.e., deficiencies of vitamins and minerals.


International Congress on Nutrition.
iron deficiency anemia. IDA is the most common micronutrient deficiency worldwide.
iodine deficiency disorders. The two primary IDD are goiter and cretinism. IDD is the most common cause of preventable mental retardation worldwide.
to estimate based on similar products.
indirect measure for a problem that has many contributing factors.
infant mortality rate
deaths to infants (individuals from birth to 1 year) per 1,000 live births.
kwashiorkor a form of PEM (protein-energy malnutrition) with moderate energy deficit and severe protein deficit. Signs and symptoms of kwashiorkor include edema, apathy, listlessness, failure to grow and gain weight, susceptibility to infection, changes in hair color, flaky skin, fatty infiltration in the liver, and reduced muscle mass.
low-birth-weight babies babies born weighing 2500 grams (5.5 pounds) or less.
inadequate consumption or excessive consumption of one or more nutrients. Malnutrition can impair physical and mental health.
severe PEM (protein-energy malnutrition), resulting in a skin-and-bones appearance (and usually death).
Millennium Development Goals.
the average value of a group of numbers.
the value which is the middle one in a set of values arranged in order of size.
the body's system of converting calories into energy that the body can use.
micronutrients nutrients needed in very small amounts, i.e., vitamins and minerals.
mineral element (in nutrition); crystal (in geology). In nutrition, the term "mineral" usually describes elements that are biologically active. Some are essential (iron, calcium, etc.).
mortality rate of death.
natural increase
increase in population, expressed as a percent: (births/1000-deaths/1000)(100).
nutrient density
proportion of essential nutrients to calorie content. A food with high nutrient density contains essential nutrients. A food with low nutrient density may contain calories or bulk without containing essential nutrients.
addition of nutrients to food.
nutrition intervention program a program that alters food marketing systems to redistribute food among households for the purpose of reducing hunger.
ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) a packet of salt and sugar that helps reduce diarrhea.
ORT (Oral Rehydration Therapy) program that includes use of oral rehydration salts, continued feeding during diarrheal episode, and extra food for a week after diarrheal episode.
disease caused by a deficiency of niacin (a B vitamin). Two of the symptoms are dermatitis and dementia.
PEM (protein-energy malnutrition)
deficiency of protein and calories that eventually results in body wasting and an increased susceptibility to infections.
chemical made by a plant. In common usage, the term "phytochemical" means a plant-derived chemical that has some health benefit for humans. Examples of phytochemicals include carotenoids, antioxidants, and soy-derived estrogens.
population doubling time

number of years for a population to double in size, assuming its rate of population growth remains constant; 70/% natural increase.
productive population individuals between the ages of 15 and 65.
program set of organized activities designed to accomplish a clearly-defined goal.
Programs target a specific population, are conducted by governmental or non-governmental organizations, and have evaluation components or measures.
protein structural and functional molecules for all living things.
RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances)
levels of intake of essential nutrients that, on the basis of scientific knowledge, are judged by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of practically all healthy persons in the United States.
reference population
unit that describes average statistics of a population, creating a standard against which others are measured, e.g., a person's size can only be evaluated by comparing it to the sizes of other people from the same population group.
replacement of nutrients lost in processing (not active in any program).
disease caused by a vitamin D deficiency in children.
RNA (ribonucleic acid)
the chemical that transfers genetic information from DNA to cellular protein manufacturing sites.
seasonal hunger
food shortage during part of the year in places where total annual production appears to be more than sufficient to meet nutritional needs
secondary malnutrition malnutrition stemming from causes such as disease.
standard deviation statistical measure of dispersion away from the mean.
extreme or prolonged lack of food that typically results in death.
failure to grow to normal height caused by chronic undernutrition during the formative years of childhood.
subsidized food
foods for which the government reduces the price of food for paying customers without reducing the price received by farmers.
subsistence crops crops that are used for food within the community where they are grown.
triglyceride fat.
United Nations
form of chronic or acute malnutrition characterized by inadequate intake of food energy (kilocalories), usually due to eating too little. Stunting, wasting and being underweight are common forms of undernutrition.
low weight for age (in children) or low weight for height (adults), a symptom of either past or present undernutrition.
United Nations Development Program.
United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.
unproductive population individuals under the age of 15 or over the age of 65.
USAID United States Agency for International Development.
vitamin A deficiency diseases. VAD is the leading preventable cause of blindness in children worldwide.
food that carries nutrient into the body.
complex organic substances that are usually dietary essentials.
vulnerable group (hunger) group within a population that is likely to experience hunger and/or that will likely experience more severe consequences of hunger.
condition in which a person is seriously below the normal weight for her or his height due to acute undernutrition or a medical condition.
WFP (World Food Program of the United Nations)
United Nations' program that administers food-for-work and food-for-education programs.
World Food Summit (1996).
WHO World Health Organization (of the United Nations) United Nations organization that focuses on health issues.
xerophthalmia vitamin A deficiency disease that typically results in blindness.

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