“Four identical indicators for all countries”: Laura Reiner
Interview with Project Manager, Global Hunger Index.
The Indian government says it is trying to tarnish India’s image.
No way. The GHI is compiled by technical experts using data published by internationally recognized organizations and published annually in a peer-reviewed report. It is produced using the same standards and the same four indicators for all countries: undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality. Taken together, they reflect deficiencies in quantity (calories) as well as quality (micronutrients). Our job is to measure long-term hunger in all countries that meet our inclusion criteria and where we have sufficient data. Our vision is to achieve “Zero Hunger by 2030”.
The government says the questions asked to calculate the GHI scores do not take into account the efforts it has made for nutritional support and food security.
The GHI is data-based and there are no specific questions for any country. What our long-term measurements clearly show: Since 2000, India has made substantial progress, but there are areas of concern, particularly with regard to child nutrition. At 19.3% (latest published data), India has the highest rate of childhood wasting of all countries covered by the GHI. This rate is higher than the 17.1% of 1998-1999.
It is argued that the GHI does not reflect the state of hunger and that other determinants such as sanitation, genetics, drinking water and food intake utilization must be taken into account.
We want to measure hunger in its complexity, and we measure outcomes, not inputs. This is why we use the four internationally recognized scientific indicators. . The prevalence of undernourishment is recognized as an indicator of SDG 2.1 to ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food for all. Child stunting and wasting are recognized as indicators to track progress on SDG 2.2 on ending all forms of malnutrition. Undernutrition is the result of inadequate food intake in terms of quantity or quality, improper utilization of nutrients due to infections or other illnesses, or a combination of these proximate causes. These, in turn, result from a range of underlying factors, including household food insecurity; inadequate maternal health or child care practices; or insufficient access to health services, clean water and sanitation. Finally, we include child mortality, listed as SDG 3.2., to reduce preventable deaths of children under five.
There are accusations that the sample size of 3,000 is very small.
This accusation refers to the “prevalence of undernourishment”. This indicator is calculated by FAO experts using several factors. Given their skill and long experience, we are confident that their sample sizes and methodologies are state of the art. The prevalence of undernourishment takes into account the distribution of caloric intake in the population as estimated by official consumption surveys conducted by governments. Where governments have not provided survey data on consumption, this aspect is updated using the Food Insecurity Experience Scale [FIES] survey data. India has not collected or disseminated a household consumption survey since 2011.
Does food insecurity contribute to stunting?
Stunting is the result of multiple factors, but food insecurity also contributes to child stunting in multiple ways. Food security has four dimensions: food availability, ie the availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, provided by national production or imports; access to food; food utilization through adequate nutrition, clean water, sanitation and health care; and stability: To be food secure, a population, household or individual must have access to adequate food at all times.
All three indicators of child health have been argued to be related to insufficient food intake, but none of them are determined solely by hunger.
It’s not believable. It is important to consider why three of the four indicators used in the calculation of the Global Hunger Index relate primarily to children. Children are particularly vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies. The most critical time for good nutrition is the 1,000-day window between the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s second birthday.
GHI project manager Laura Reiner refutes the allegation of bias against India in the GHI survey and says the same methodology is applied to all countries in the survey.
No other country objected to the methodology, she said.