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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: The contribution of the private sector and civil society to improve nutrition

The role of the private sector and civil society is paramount in a nation's quest to improved nutrition. If this responsibility is to be left on the shoulder of the government alone, it is reasonable to assume that, given the many other functions of government, this purpose would be left unattained to a large degree. This is not to point out any particular weaknesses to any particular government. However, especially in the consideration of a developing country where allocation of resources is supremely significant in that country's advancement, it would be unreasonable to assume that any governing body would be able to take the matter of the nation's nutritional well-being wholly into its own hands.

In responce to the post of the previous group, Future of Agricultural Economics ECN 4103 Group 2, who stated that the private sector could take up the role of implementing better health systems for employees (such as medical insurances or allowances), we pose our question thusly: Is implementing better health systems a route to the improvement of nutrition of a nation, or is it merely a means by which POOR nutrition can be treated more readily or effectively?

That question is not to understate the importance of improved health systems, but merely to point out that given those improvements, it would not speak directly to a nation's intake of more nutritional foods, but rather to a system that is better prepared to deal with ailments that may arise from poor nutrition.

Take, for example, the United States of America. The powerhouse nation. The everypresent economic giant. The health systems of this great nation are, undoubtedly, far superior to that of smaller, less developed countries such as our motherland, Guyana. Whereas, perhaps, our greatest area of nutritional insufficiency stems from resources not being able to reach many of the poor peoples of our land, and thus leading to many people, children especially, being under-nourished and underweight, the problem facing America is converse to ours in that their greatest nutritional letdown is the rate of obesity that plagues their people.

Better health systems, yes. Better nutritional standards? Perhaps not. 

It is by this arugment that we can then pose a further question: is less time Really lost by implementing better health systems? Or does it create an opportunity whereby workers can benefit from health allowances and have no real incentive to alter an unhealthy lifestyle?