Health Tips by Sheryl Salis

Hidden Hunger- The New Age Challenge

In our fast- paced world, where convenience often takes priority over nutrition, we tend to overlook the importance of consuming a wholesome balanced diet. Most of the times availability of food in terms of calories is not a concern but we often fall short to meet the body’s daily requirement of vitamins and minerals also called as micronutrients. This phenomenon of micronutrient deficiencies is called ‘Hidden Hunger’. This issue is much more prevalent than one can think and affects more than 2 billion individuals, or one in three people, globally. Hidden hunger is not the kind of hunger as we know it. You may not feel ‘hungry’ but internally it strikes at your health and wellbeing.

We are facing a unique challenge of triple burden of malnutrition in India, which is undernutrition, obesity and deficiency of vitamins and minerals in spite of being overweight or obese. This is due to a lifestyle change along with a shift towards consumption of foods higher in carbohydrates and fats and lower in vitamins and minerals. Other factors which contribute to micronutrient deficiencies are limited access to wholesome balanced diets, reliance on processed and convenience foods, inability to meet increased requirements

Balanced Diet

during life stages such as pregnancy, lactation or during recovery from infections.

Balanced Diet

Micronutrient deficiencies can have serious consequences, both in terms of health costs and negative impacts on growth, immune function and overall health. It increases the risk to chronic diseases, infections and impairs productivity and vitality.

Solutions to Hidden Hunger

Ensuring dietary diversity is one of the most effective ways to prevent micronutrient deficiencies. Inclusion of variety of whole grains, legumes, dairy, fruits and vegetables is vital for healthy living. Besides this increasing awareness about healthy food preparation practice and storage will help to reduce nutrient losses. Food fortification is another way of adding micronutrients in commonly consumed food items.

While meeting the nutritional requirements from daily dietary intake should be priority, a convenient and effective way to bridge the gap between intake and needs is via micronutrient supplements. Use of supplements ensures that one receives adequate level of essential vitamins and minerals. Supplementation helps to prevent deficiencies or correct

Healthy Child Eating Balanced Diet

them , thereby supplying the critical nutrients needed to ensure smooth functioning of the body and boosting the immune system thereby improving quality of life.

Hidden hunger is an invisible New Age challenge that we face. By addressing the root causes, raising awareness and providing education and access to nutritious balanced meals, we can combat this challenge. Additionally, use of micronutrient supplements can help in overcoming this challenge with ease and effectiveness.

Authored by:

Sheryl Salis

Registered Dietitian (RD), Certified Diabetes Educator, Insulin Pump Specialist

Founder – Nurture Health Solutions


  1. Lowe NM. The global challenge of hidden hunger: perspectives from the field. Proc Nutr Soc. 2021;80(3):283-289. doi:10.1017/S0029665121000902
  2. Antony A, Vora R, Karmarkar S. The silent tragic reality of Hidden Hunger, anaemia, and neural-tube defects (NTDs) in India. The Lancet Regional Health. (2022)
  3. J.V. Meenakshi, 2016. “Trends And Patterns In The Triple Burden Of Malnutrition In India,” Working papers 256, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  4. Global Hunger Index . Chapter 3 – Addressing the Challenge of Hidden Hunger .
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