Micronutrient malnutrition is a major reason for nutritional disorders and food insecurity across the globe. Right and adequate nutrition is the basic right of every individual. But it has not been taken much seriously. For developing nations micronutrients malnutrition is becoming an increasing threat. Today 800 million people in the world are undernourished (FAO, 2015). Scientific studies have reported that more people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies than from protein energy malnutrition.
Number of People Affected by Micronutrient Malnutrition
Over three billion people are globally afflicting due to micronutrient malnutrition and most probably children and young women from resource-poor families are most affected by these deficiencies. 161 million children under the age of five are suffering from stunted growth due to lingering malnutrition (FAO, 2014). Fe and Zn deficiency is most widespread throughout the world, affecting more than half of the world`s population (White and Broadley, 2009). The international micronutrient malnutrition prevention and control is focused to combat these deficiencies on a sustainable basis.
Common Nutritional Deficiencies and Micronutrient Malnutrition
The most widespread nutritional disorders are Fe and Zn deficiency and are estimated to be about 2.4 and 1.9% respectively (Rodgers, 2004). This problem is more severe in developing countries of Asia and Africa (Gomez-Galera et al., 2010). The gross domestic product (GDP) of developing countries is also reduced by 2-5% due to Fe and Zn deficiencies in food crops (Stein, 2014). Effects of malnutrition are severely affecting people across the globe and therefore the problem must be addressed properly.
Global Burden of Fe and Zn Deficiency
Globally the burden of Fe deficiency has increased from 35% to 50% and many supplementations and food fortification programs are not much sustainable for developing countries (Welch et al., 1997). Anemia, cognitive diseases, and reduced physical performances in children are the main problems caused by the consumption of micronutrient deficient diets (Swaminathan et al., 2013). Zn and Fe malnutrition is even more dangerous than protein calorie malnutrition.
In the developing world zinc deficiency is the fifth important risk factor for illness and diseases. Billions of people are affected by Zn deficiency with retarded immune system and reduced growth and development. Severe Zn deficiency results in increased risks of malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea. 4.4% of children less than five years old are dying due to zinc deficiency (Meenakshi et al., 2007). These deficiencies can be reduced by the food production, handling, storage, and distribution according to the food security act.
Reduction of Undernutrition
This problem of undernutrition can be reduced by enhancing the food quality and improved food production systems (Panwar et al., 2012). In poor societies, people are switching their diets so nutritional disorders are causing chronic diseases. Intake of an insufficient amount of essential micronutrients in the diet for the long term is much more devastating than low energy intake. Effective control of malnutrition is only possible by completely knowing about what causes malnutrition, the pathophysiology of malnutrition, long-term effects of malnutrition, and malnutrition treatment.
Remediation Measures to Combat Micronutrient Malnutrition
Remediation through mineral supplementation, dietary diversification, and food fortification is the ultimate solution but poor people cannot afford these things (Philip and Martin, 2008). So maintaining food quality and consumption of enough quantity for the growing population is a paramount challenge nowadays. Remediation measures are even more important in the scenario of climate change and food security.
Better Nutrition for Good Health
Micronutrient malnutrition is a serious threat to mankind but this situation can be avoided by the development and application of proper strategies (Copenhagen Consensus 2004). These nutrients can be applied to human beings by the appropriate diet. Agriculture should provide at least 50 nutrients like minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, trace elements, and amino acids.
These amounts should be enough to meet metabolic demands all year-round. Continued improvement in nutritional quality and yield of crops will provide a basic step towards nutritional security and global food security for the growing world population (Tabbita et al., 2017). Better nutrition can be a source of great improvements in health as it reduces malnutrition, hunger, obesity, and the threat of unsafe food (WHO, 2002).
Improving Plant-Based Diets
Healthy nutrition for a large segment of the population can be secured by the improvement in plant-based diets. Secured and efficient food production can help people to eat all essential nutrients by using plant based diet meat plan. Human nutrition is directly related to plants, so the production of good quality foods requires balanced use of macro and micronutrients from the soil. Soils are the main suppliers of micronutrients to plants and their bioavailability is influenced by various soil and environmental factors (Panuccio et al., 2009).
Malnutrition and Nutritional Disorders
If the proper amount is not present in the food system then morbidity and mortality rates are increased, productivity is declined and finally, societies have to suffer. Nowadays food system in developing parts of the world is not of good quality as it does not meet the nutritional status required for a human being. Therefore there is a direct urgent need to achieve sustainable food systems. Eating biofortified foods is essentially helpful to make people think of plant based diet meals, plant based diet protein, and plant based diet meal plan for weight loss.
It leads to nutritional disorders and causes protracted diseases and in severe cases death also (Welch and Robin, 2005). Proper integration of agroecology and sustainable food systems can greatly transform the concept of food security. Moreover, food storage systems, food storage rack systems, food truck pos systems, and food delivery systems should also be modified to improve the shelf life and quality of food.
Shifting Scientific Focus to Produce Nutritionally Rich Foods
Unfortunately, our food system is not capable to provide the essential nutrients for human beings especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. Advancement in crop production and crop production services during the green revolution was mainly aimed at the improvement of the cereal crop system (wheat, maize, rice). However, this system left significant gaps to be fulfilled by the use of vitamin mineral supplementation, and vitamin and mineral supplementation.
This effort resulted in a significant increase in food proportion to prevent starvation across the globe. But during this period the food quality was not focused. If it was so then the venomous paraphernalia of malnutrition could have reduced up to multiple folds. There are many possible ways of preventing malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies but biofortification is most efficient among all.
Implementation of Policies to Improve Food Security
For human health disorders, a scrap of prophylactic measures is much better than numerous rounds of remedial measures. There is an exigent requisite for the development of national goals for public health in national and international commissions. Micronutrient powders to combat malnutrition and mineral supplementation products are also available but their use is not safe and sustainable.
Especially in developing countries, the related policies should be implemented. Other than dietary diversification, food fortification, and trace mineral supplementation, biofortification strategies are most cost-effective (Ma et al., 2008). As well in socioeconomic literature biofortification has become an important topic. On a national and international level, several programs have been implemented for reducing malnutrition, but they have not been completely accentuated.