Food Security

Guatemala Food (In)Security

Guatemala stats:
  • Third in the world (first in Central America) for chronic malnutrition.
  • The prevalence of chronic malnutrition is 43%
  • 21.5% of the population lives on less than U.S. $1 a day.
For more details:
PBS News "Malnutrition Plagues Guatemala's Children"
ABC News "Guatemala: The Devastating Effects of Malnutrition"
ABC News "Severe Stunting: Twelve Years Old Going on Five"
Unicef "Fighting chronic malnutrition among impoverished children in Guatemala"
The Economist "Malnutrition in Guatemala: A national shame"
Reuters AlertNet "Climate change issues gaining momentum in Guatemala"
U.N. Humanitarian Appeal Guatemala Food Insecurity and Acute Malnutrition Appeal 2010
U.N. World Food Programme "Guatemala: Food Shortages Compound Malnutrition Problems"
Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. "Country Profile: Guatemala"

Some Definitions 
  • Food Security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food
  • Undernourishment describes the status of persons, whose food intake regularly provides less than their minimum energy requirements

  • Malnutrition means 'badly nourished', but is more than a measure of what we eat or fail to eat. Malnutrition is characterised by inadequate intake of protein, energy and micronutrients and by frequent infections and diseases. Starved of the right nutrition, people will die from common infections like measles or diarrhoea.  Malnutrition is measured not by how much food is eaten but by physical measurements of the body - weight or height - and age.
  • Wasting is an indicator of acute malnutrition that reflects a recent and severe process that has led to substantial weight loss. This is usually the result of starvation and/or disease.
  • Stunting is an indicator of chronic malnutrition that reflects the long-term nutritional situation of a population. It is calculated by comparing the height-for-age of a child with a reference population of well nourished and healthy children.
  • Underweight is measured by comparing the weight-for-age of a child with a reference population of well-nourished and healthy children. An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight.

Sustainable Agriculture Development in the Peace Corps
This project focuses on teaching small farmers to produce nontraditional crops and raise small animals to improve family food consumption and nutrition. Food security Volunteers provide training in organic production techniques, soil management, and utilization of local resources. (from the Peace Corps Guatemala Welcome Book)

For more details, check out:
Peace Corps Food Security page
Peace Corps Food Security Volunteer stories