Wednesday, 18 June 2014


"Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." - New Testament, Matthew, 6:11-12

Nutritional deficiencies are the world’s greatest health problem, compared to any other individual disease. Presently, 40 people per minute die worldwide from malnutrition. Even in the developed countries such as Australia, North America, Western Europe where the richest people in history live, we find evidence of nutritional deficiencies. In the 1950s, the world had 3 billion people, and one person in two went to bed hungry. Today, with 6 billion people, only one person in five goes to bed hungry, however, the developed nations are even more prosperous and pay the price of over-eating and obesity-related diseases.

Marasmus is the generalised wasting away of the body and is the result of deficiency of total caloric intake, while kwashiorkor is the result of a dietary deficiency of protein.  Both of these disorders are still disturbingly common in the developing countries of the world and the victims are unfortunately mostly children. Africa and Asia are the countries with most of these famine-related problems.

Vitamins are substances in the diet, which the body needs in small quantities but cannot manufacture itself and which take part in important metabolic reactions. Vitamin deficiencies are very unusual to rare in the industrialised countries, except amongst food faddists. In countries like Australia and the USA it is often claimed in urban myth that the population has a variety of subtle, subclinical vitamin deficiencies for which they need to be supplemented with a variety of available over the counter pills and tablets. These are for the major part hypothetical deficiencies and if the diet is balanced no need for vitamin supplements exists. It has been said that the most expensive urine in the world is produced by Americans, so many of whom take great quantities of vitamin supplements that they excrete them in enormous quantities in their urine.  By contrast, in the developing countries, vitamin deficiencies together with other nutritional deficiencies are still a major cause of disease and death.

Some excellent charities and international relief organisations exist that are desperately trying to make this world of ours more equitable, more fair, and attempt to make life easier for those millions upon millions of disadvantaged who do not know where their next meal is coming from. Please visit the web links below and if you can, donate from your surfeit so that those less fortunate can have a piece of their daily bread:

OxfamCare International:
World Vision (US):
World Vision (Aus):
International Famine Centre:
The Denan Project:

This link is to a very distressing picture by Kevin Carter that encapsulates the whole of the famine situation so poignantly. However, it is a picture that illustrates famine so dramatically that it seems to have been what broke this photographer’s will to live. After being exposed to so many situations like this, which he photographed, he committed suicide. Please do not look at it if you are likely to be affected adversely – but it is the truth and reality is cruel.

1 comment:

  1. I saw the shot several times being circulated in the internet and it is heart-wrenching. Didn't know that the photographer committed suicide. So sad.
    Nick, I would be very happy if you can continue Food Friday. I love the meme and just couldn't continue because of time constraints. Would love to participate when I have more time! :)