Hidden Hunger


Deficiency of vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients is called Hidden Hunger. This deficiency doesn’t show up any symptoms and has no physical science.  Women and children from the lower income groups in developing countries are often the most affected.

Hidden Hunger can increase child and maternal mortality, cause birth defects and developmental disabilities, contributes to and exacerbates global poverty, constraints women’s empowerment and limits the productivity and economic growth of nations.

Facts related to Hidden Hunger:

  • One in three people in the world suffer from Hidden Hunger.
  • According to WHO, main deficiencies are Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A, B12,
  • Iron and Iodine are considered to be must for maternal health and fetal health.
  • Poor memory, poor cognition is a result of the deficiency of Iron.
  • Zinc is an Anti diarrheal tool
  • Hidden hunger contributes to hereditary diseases, poverty and high maternal mortality rate.

Facts related to Hidden Hunger in India:

  • India has very high burden of Hidden Hunger. India ranks first among the world nations.
  • According to National Family Health Survey Report 3:
    • 62% of pre-school children are deficient of Vitamin A, leading to an estimated annual 330,000 child deaths.
    • 9% of children under age 5 are frequently affected by diarrhea.
    • 60% of pregnant women and 70% of children (pre-school) are anemic.
  • According to ICMR:
    • Iron deficiency and related anemia claims 22,000 maternal deaths per year.
    • 87% of pregnant women and 75% of children below 5 years of age suffer from iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Only 71% of households currently consume adequately iodized salt, an ingredient absolutely vital for brain development.

Micronutrient Initiative (MI):

It is an international not-for-profit development organization formed in 1992 by a group of like-minded donors, UN agencies, and the World Bank to address the issue of micronutrient, has been working in India since 1997 to support the provisions of vitamins and minerals through the existing health systems in a number of states of India.


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