Cuba

SUMMARY

Dietary Energy Supplies (DES) showed from 1964-66 a progressive increase until 1989-91. From this moment onwards, the unfavourable economic conditions that Cuba has had to face lead the country to an abrupt decline in food availability in 1992-95. In 1996-98 starts a gradual improvement although without reaching the levels observed in the eighties. There is no information on food consumption; but a first food consumption survey conducted in 2001 is soon expected to provide data. Traditionally, Cubans eat rice, beans, chicken meat or pig meat, bananas, yuca, sugar and coffee. In the last years, there is a tendency towards an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as of sugar and fats.

In the last MICS survey of 2000, the prevalence of malnutrition among pre-school age children, based on the three main anthropometric indicators, was below 5% at national level, with minimal differences among regions. The highest prevalence rates were see in rural areas and in the Occidente region where stunting was 7%. These remarkably low percentages of child malnutrition put Cuba at the forefront of developing countries. Overweight among children showed an increase in prevalence in the 1980s, followed by a decrease between 1993 and 1998 when prevalence rates stabilized around 5%.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) of adults showed that 9% of women and 6% of men were chronically energy deficient. More important to highlight is the high prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults (37% in women and 32% in men).

Neither iodine deficiency nor vitamin A deficiency are public health problems in Cuba. Iron deficiency anemia is most widespread in the country, affecting mainly pregnant women, women in fertile age and children less than 2 years of age. However, anemia is mostly light in severity. A national plan of action to control iron deficiency anemia is in place, covering iron supplementation, iron food fortification and complementary public health strategies.

© FAO 2010