The cost of the double burden of malnutrition in Honduras
The study “The cost of the double burden of malnutrition: social and economic impact in Honduras” was presented by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) with the Government of Honduras, through the Health Secretary and the General Secretariat of Government Coordination/Technical Unit for Food and Nutrition Security (UTSAN), and the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP).
“Malnutrition and overweight and obesity are two faces of malnutrition that represent an obstacle to the optimal development of individuals, families and communities,” said Miguel Barreto, the WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “In the face of the double burden of malnutrition and its negative impact on productivity and economic growth, it is crucial to redouble efforts in the fight against malnutrition and promote access to healthy food and healthy lifestyles.”
Likewise, Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, said that the results “show how food and nutrition insecurity in the region represents a denial of people’s rights as well as significant economic costs for the country, which is one more indicator of the inefficiency of inequality.” In the face of the current crisis, “it is paramount to move forward with social and fiscal pacts to implement public policies which guarantee the rights and levels of well-being of people, in particular families, living in extreme poverty and with severe food insecurity.”
The study presents the principal economic and social costs in health, education, and productivity left by the double burden in 2017. Of the 2,300 million dollars lost due to the double burden of malnutrition, some 85 per cent is attributable to malnutrition while the remaining 15 per cent is attributable to overweight and obesity.
In 2017, the economic costs due to malnutrition rose to more than 2,000 million dollars. Meanwhile, the cost to the health system and to Honduran families was estimated at 36 million dollars. In education, the cost for each repeat rate for the education system was some 640 dollars a year and more than 50 dollars for each family.
For overweight and obesity, the total cost to the public health system and families in 2017, due to the burden of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, rose to 283 million dollars. Similarly, the costs of potential loss of productivity due to workplace absenteeism linked to the burden of illness and premature deaths associated with obesity reached 53 million dollars.
Recommendations of the study
The recommendations include increasing investment in nutrition in early childhood, with greater emphasis on the first 1,000 days of life, and developing strategies to prevent high mortality rates of men and women associated with overweight and obesity. Also recommended is the periodic and sustained generation of information in Honduras for timely decision making and the design of key programmes and interventions.
The National Advisory Committee guided the implementation strategy of the study at the country level, the phase for data collection and validation of impacts and costs for Honduras, and the development of the study’s recommendations. The Secretary for Health, Development and Social Inclusion, Education, Public Hospitals (Teaching Hospital, San Felipe, Social Security), the National Statistics Institute, UTSAN, Academia, the United Nations, and other institutions make up the Committee.
The cost of the double burden of malnutrition
Social and economic impact in Honduras
Download the report (only in Spanish)