Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 5:22 pm
By Michaeleen Doucleff
Babies and toddlers in the poorest parts of the world are getting better fed.
What's the proof? Stunting in kids – a sign of poor nutrition early in life — has dropped by a third in the past two decades, UNICEF reported Monday. But there's a long way to go. Globally, a quarter of kids under the age of 5 were stunted in 2011. That's roughly 165 million children worldwide, with nearly 75 percent of them living in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the report says.
Washington is awash in rumors this week that the White House is planning major changes in the way the U.S. donates food to fight hunger in some of the world's poorest countries.
It has set off an emotional debate. Both sides say they are trying to save lives.
America's policies on food aid are singularly generous — and also unusually selfish. On the generous side, the U.S. spends roughly $1.5 billion every year to send food abroad, far more than any other country.
While North Korea has long struggled with dire food shortages, the United Nations now assesses its food situation as being the best in many years. But NPR has had unusual access to five North Koreans in China, who paint a dramatically different, and alarming, picture.
Even as North Korea mourned its leader Kim Jong Il last December, one surprising thing was on people's minds: fish. State-run television showed people lining up in shops; the dear leader's last wish, apparently, was to provide fish to his people.