There are at least three ways to help those suffering:
1. Eating more of better food
Increasing intake of nutritious foods among those suffering from
undernutritionis both costly and difficult, and is generally reserved for the most dire of circumstances in which populations are experiencing famine or some other natural or man-made disaster.
2. Fortifying food staples
Fortification of basic foodstuffs is a very effective intervention for overcoming hidden hunger; and indeed progress is being made to introduce fortification globally. However, fortification requires significant partnership and cooperation between governments and industry to be successful. Even with effective partnerships, fortification requires that members of society are also part of the cash economy – which often is not the case. Moreover, fortification of basic foodstuffs can be very difficult to achieve where they are produced by large numbers of processors as compared to circumstances where there are just a handful of large-scale manufacturers who can be more easily persuaded to take on fortification. Consequently, fortification alone is not always a complete or even viable solution to hidden hunger.
3. Vitamin supplementation for those who need it most
Providing a supplement of vitamin A (twice a year) to selected population groups; or a daily multiple
micronutrientsupplement to infants, young children and pregnant or lactating mothers is a simple and cost efficient way to alleviate hidden hunger, and can be a robust solution both in its own right and an intermediate solution until fortification of foodstuffs is achieved and accessible by all members of society; or until families have access to more food of better quality.