“Malnutrition is a significant public health issue that deserves the frank attention given by Dr. Biesalski in his new book, Hidden Hunger. Nutrition research discoveries made by ASN members contribute to eradicating hunger and micronutrient deficiencies in this decade. Everyone concerned with feeding our growing population should read this book.”
John E. Courtney, Ph.D., Executive Officer, American Society for Nutrition
In an age of fiscal retrenchment, budgetary austerity and newly-imposed limits to foreign assistance of all kinds, it is critical that scientists and development practitioners keep their eye on the ball. What exactly is the global community trying to achieve with our many grandiose targets, demands for evidence-based practice and value for money? Ultimately, we seek enhanced and sustained wellbeing for all of the world’s citizens. The rhetoric used to explain that over-arching goal encompasses poverty reduction, agricultural growth, female empowerment, health disparities, literacy, and so much more. But none of that can be achieved without fundamentally changing the way we talk about, and seek to resolve, hidden hunger.
Dr. Biesalski has thrown down the gauntlet with his book of that title. It pushes concrete evidence to the fore, critiques well-known and innovative approaches, and explores new dimensions that accompany rapid urban-based dietary change. His book urges that adequate attention be paid to a vast global problem that will remain hidden unless it is dragged out into the daylight and seen for what it is: a drain on national, social and human growth that dwarfs the shrinking resources being put into its resolution.
The book needs to be read and re-read by those who would otherwise not pick up a text on nutrition. The problem is too great to be left to a small, albeit dedicated cadre of professional nutritionists. The solution to hidden hunger lies in concerted multi-sectoral actions that link private and public sector strategies. It lies with multiple government ministries, with diverse players across civil society, and with researchers working at all levels from cell to society. The problems may be (largely) hidden, but the risks of inaction cannot be ignored. Fortunately, Biesalski offers potential solutions and new ways of looking at old challenges. These much be understood, debated and, wherever feasible, implemented at scale with the urgency and passion that he communicates in this important book.
Patrick Webb, Dean for Academic Affairs and Alexander MacFarlane Professor of Public Policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA