Rising levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reduce the amount of nutrients in staple crops such as rice and wheat, say researchers at Harvard's public health school. As a consequence, more than 1 billion women and children would lose a large amount of their dietary iron intake and be at larger risk of anemia and other diseases.
Researchers are developing a new strain of genetically modified rice that contains much higher levels of iron and zinc, says the University of Melbourne. "This has the potential to reduce chronic malnutrition disorders that can be caused by an over-reliance on rice in the human diet," says the university.
Only three countries show no serious signs of malnutrition: China, Vietnam and South Korea, according to the 2016 Global Nutrition Report. The rest of the world is plagued by such poor nutrition indicators as “stunted toddlers, anemic young women and obese adults,” says The New York Times. In the United States, each obese family member costs families an average of 8 percent of their income in additional healthcare.