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Global Panel of Economists and Nutritionists Calls Hidden Hunger a Global Crisis

Group calls access to good nutrition a human right

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – March 13, 2008 – In the future, will the rich, able to afford a diet optimized to their genetic makeup, become a super species, living substantially longer than the underprivileged, or will today’s society make access to adequate nutrition a global agenda and a basic human right? These questions and others were addressed by nearly 50 nutrition and economic thought leaders from 11 countries yesterday at a roundtable held here entitled, “Hidden Hunger: Socioeconomic and Scientific Challenges.” The groundbreaking event was sponsored by SIGHT AND LIFE, the humanitarian arm of DSM, a worldwide provider of nutritional ingredients; the Oxygen Club of California, the Linus Pauling Institute and USC School of Pharmacy.

“Malnutrition is a global crisis,” said Stephan Tanda, a member of the DSM Managing Board responsible for its Nutrition Cluster. “It stunts the lives and livelihood of more than 2 billion people worldwide afflicted by hidden hunger or malnutrition resulting from micronutrient deficiencies.”

Tanda noted a recent Lancet article suggested that feeding young children proper nutrition would boost their earnings power as adults. “We must determine how to sustainably provide proper nutrition to all who are malnourished. As a leading provider of nutritional ingredients, DSM is well positioned to be part of the solution,” he added.

Hidden hunger affects populations in nations rich and poor. In the U.S., for example, despite flour fortification with iron and B vitamins, iron deficiency affects 2.4 million children and is more severe among overweight children of low socioeconomic status. Millions of US citizens (11 percent of all households) are unable to buy nutritious food for economic reasons, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). A Canadian study suggests that this translates into significant nutrient inadequacies among adults and adolescents.2 Similarly, a recent report from Mexico showed the simultaneous risk of overweight and stunting (short linear growth from hidden hunger) in pre-school children.3

The roundtable suggested a common agenda to address hidden hunger include:
• strategies that improve the availability of micronutrient-rich and low cost supplementary foods;
• all sectors of society in the developing and industrialized worlds working together to address hidden hunger

Roundtable participants included: Daniel McFadden and Bruce N. Ames, University of California, Berkley; USA; Alfred Sommer, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA; Ricardo Uauy, London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine; UK; V. Prakash, Central Food Technological Research Institute, India; Bert Sackmann, Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg, Germany, the Micronutrient Initiative, Medical Nobel Institute for Biochemistry, Stockholm, Sweden, The Council for Responsible Nutrition, Washington, D.C., USA and others.

SIGHT AND LIFE will host a podcast series on the round table discussions on its Web site, The podcasts will be available in April.

At the round table conclusion, SIGHT AND LIFE received the Science Frontier and Humanity award from the Oxygen Club.

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SIGHT AND LIFE, a humanitarian initiative of DSM, exists to help combat the suffering associated with malnutrition in its many forms. Originally founded in 1986 to fight vitamin A deficiency, it now focuses more broadly on the key relationship between micronutrient intake and health. SIGHT AND LIFE’s vision is to build bridges for better nutrition. Its activities include providing micronutrients to counter inadequate nutritional intake among populations in need, supporting educational and training programs to foster good nutritional practice, and co-operating closely with scientific establishments, academic institutions and healthcare organizations (non-governmental as well as governmental) around the world. For further company information please visit

About DSM Nutritional Products
DSM Nutritional Products is the world's leading supplier of vitamins, carotenoids and other fine chemicals to the feed, food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries. The business has sales of over EUR 2 billion and a long tradition as a pioneer in the discovery of new products, new formulations and attractive applications for all industry segments. For further company information please visit

About DSM
DSM creates innovative products and services in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences that contribute to the quality of life. DSM’s products and services are used globally in a wide range of markets and applications, supporting a healthier, more sustainable and more enjoyable way of life. End markets include human and animal nutrition and health, personal care, pharmaceuticals, automotive, coatings and paint, electrics and electronics, life protection and housing. DSM has annual sales of almost EUR 8.8 billion and employs some 23,000 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in the Netherlands, with locations on five continents. DSM is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. More information about DSM can be found at

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