Timeline of malnutrition

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This is a timeline of malnutrition, describing significant events related to both undernutrition and overnutrition.

Sample questions

The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:

  • What are some important organizations addressing undernutrition and hunger?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Category" and look for the group of rows with value "Undernutrition".
    • You will see a list of organizations, mostly operating worldwide.

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
Before c.10,000 BC Hunting and gathering era This period occupies about 90% of human history. People fare arguably better during this time than during the post agricultural revolution era, as the reduced population and nomadism are able to cope better with food scarcity. Also, hunter-gatherers enjoy a varied diet, while early farmers would obtain most of their food from one or a few starchy crops.[1][2]
c.10,000 BC onwards Post First Agricultural Revolution era An increase in food production is followed by a population increase, making hunting and gathering an impossible return for most of the world due to the size of human density. This time represents a change in diet and nutrition, which becomes less rich due to the proliferation of monoculture. Famines abound as a consequence of several risks carried by agriculture, like droughts and floods.[1][2]
c.18th–19th centuries onwards Liberal capitalist era A spectacular growth of wealth is experienced in this era. Capitalism creates abundance unmatched in human history. Famine becomes rare in those countries adopting free market.
Mid 20th century onwards Raise of overnutrition Modern food production system, focused on increasing output, successfully meets, and even exceeds, the nutritional needs of consumers in developed countries. Not only it satisfies energy, protein and fat requirements, but it reduces real prices of food. One of the consequences of this is the raise of overnutrition among the population for the first time in human history.[3]

Full timeline

Year Category Event type Details Country/location
1620 Undernutrition An English bonesetter by name "Rickets" becomes famous for his diagnosis and treatment of vitamin D deficiency and his name becomes associated with the disease.[4] United Kingdom
1645 Undernutrition Rickets is first described by Daniel Whistler.[5]
1650 Undernutrition Francis Glisson first establishes rickets as a clinical entity.[4][5][6]
1735 Pellagra is first described in Spain. It is caused by a deficiency in niacin (vitamin B3).[7] Spain
1753 Undernutrition Vitamin C deficiency. Scottish surgeon in the Royal Navy, James Lind is generally credited with proving that scurvy can be successfully treated with citrus fruit.[8]
1824 Undernutrition Vitamin deficiency Combe of Edinburgh in Scotland first describes pernicious anemia.[9]
1847 Overnutrition Organization The British Relief Association is established.[10][11] United Kingdom (London)
1849 Undernutrition The first clear description of vitamin B12 deficiency is made by Thomas Addison.[12][13]
1863 Undernutrition Vitamin A deficiency. French physician Pierre Bitot first describes the later called Bitot's spots.[14]
1875 Undernutrition Vitamin deficiency Pepper reports bone marrow abnormalities in pernicious anemia patients.[9]
1910 Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is discovered.[15]
1912 Undernutrition C. Funk coins the term vitamine to describe the newly discovered growth factors because they are thought to be vital to life and quite mistakenly amines.[16]
1913 Vitamin A (Retinol) is discovered.[17][18]
1920 Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is discovered.
1920 Vitamin D (Calciferol) is discovered.[19]
1920 Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is discovered.[15]
1921 Overnutrition The first fast-food hamburger chain, White Castle, is founded in Wichita, Kansas.[20]
1922 Vitamin E (Tocopherol) is discovered.[15]
1929 Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone) is discovered.
1931 Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) is discovered.[15]
1931 Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is discovered.[15]
1934 Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is discovered.
1934 Undernutrition Vitamin B12 deficiency. George Whipple shares the 1934 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with William P. Murphy and George Minot for the discovery of an effective treatment for pernicious anemia using liver concentrate, later found to contain a large amount of vitamin B12.[21][22] Sweden
1935 Undernutrition Medical development Jamaican pediatrician Cicely Williams introduces the term Kwashiorkor in a Lancet article, two years after she published the disease's first formal description. Kwashiorkor is a form of severe protein–energy malnutrition characterized by edema and an enlarged liver with fatty infiltrates.[23][24]
1936 Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is discovered.[15]
1941 Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) is discovered.
1945 Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is established. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.[25][26]
1946 Undernutrition Organization Freedom from Hunger is founded. Throughout the decades, it would be responsible for a number of hunger alleviation programs in Latin America, Asia and Africa.[27] United States
1955 Overnutrition Organization Ray Kroc founds the first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois.[20] United States
1961 Undernutrition Organization The World Food Programme is established.[28][29][30]
1963 The WHO and FAO publish the Codex Alimentarius, which serves as an guideline to food safety.[31]
1967 Overnutrition Product High fructose corn syrup is first introduced by The Food and Drug Administration and appears in fast food. This new substance is primarily used in soft drinks and to sweeten processed food items.[20]
1969 Malnutrition Conference United States President Richard Nixon organizes a White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health to draw attention to widespread malnutrition and the nutritional problems of Americans. The conference goal is to compose a national nutrition policy and determine how to make it effective.[20] United States
1969 Undernutrition Product High energy food K-Mix 2 is developed by UNICEF as a therapeutic food in response to the Nigerian Civil War.[32][33]
1973 Malnutrition Regulation The United States Food and Drug Administration creates the first regulations that require the nutrition labeling of foods. These regulations make any foods that are advertised or labeled based on their nutritional value to provide full nutrition facts.[20] United States
1974 Undernutrition Organization The World Food Council is established by the United Nations General Assembly as a coordinating body with the purpose for national ministries of agriculture to help alleviate malnutrition and hunger and to facilitate the development of new agricultural techniques to increase food production.[34][35] WFC would be officially suspended in 1993, with its functions being absorbed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Programme.
1974 Undernutrition Organization Non-profit vegan food relief organization Food for Life Global is founded.[36]
1974 The Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition is adopted.[37][38][39] Italy (Rome)
1975 Undernutrition Organization United States non-governmental organization WhyHunger is founded. It works around the world to support grassroots-led social movements, organizations, alliances and leaders working to end hunger and poverty.[40][41][42]
1975 Undernutrition Organization Food First
1977 Undernutrition Organization The Hunger Project is founded as an organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger.[43][44][45] United States
1979 Undernutrition Organization Action Against Hunger (Action Contre La Faim) originates in France. It is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger, helping malnourished children and providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger.[46][47] France
1982 Overnutrition Organization The Obesity Society is founded. It is focused on obesity science, treatment and prevention.[48][49]
1985 Undernutrition Organization Famine Early Warning Systems Network.[50][51]
1985 Undernutrition Organization Project Open Hand is founded in San Francisco. It provides meals to sick and vulnerable people.[52][53][54] United States
1989 Overnutrition Product Wendy’s first introduces their US$0.99 Super Value Menu, which consists of several popular items for a bargain.[20]
1990 Undernutrition Statistics There are a reported 216 million undernourished people in the world.[55] Worldwide
1992 Undernutrition Organization Food Donation Connection is founded as a private American company. It serves as the liaison between restaurants/food service companies interested in donating surplus food, and local social service agencies that distribute food to people in need.[56][57][58] United States
1992 Undernutrition Organization Nutrition International is founded.[59][60][61] It is an international not for profit agency based in Canada that works to eliminate vitamin and mineral deficiencies in developing countries.[62] Canada
1995 The World Health Organization estimates that 13.8 million children have some degree of visual loss related to Vitamin A deficiency (VAD).[63]
2000 Overnutrition Organization National Obesity Forum is founded as a British independent professional organization which campaigns for a more interventional approach to obesity.[64] United Kingdom
2000 Undernutrition Organization The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is founded.[65][66] United States
2002 Overnutrition Legal McDonald’s is sued by a group of overweight children for obesity related health problems because of their consumption of the company's products.[20] United States
2002 Undernutrition Program launch The United Nations Special Session on Children sets a goal of the elimination of vitamin A deficiency by 2010.[67]
2002 Undernutrition Organization Swiss-based foundation Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition is founded. It works with diverse partners to address the problem of malnutrition in the world.[68][69][70]
2002 Undernutrition The United Nations Special Session on Children sets a goal of the elimination of vitamin A deficiency by 2010.[71]
2003 Undernutrition Organization California-based Nutrition and Education International is formed to fight widespread malnutrition among women and children who live in high-mortality areas in Afghanistan.[72] [73][74]
2003–2005 Statistics According to FAO food balances, available calories in OECD countries average 3,400 per person, up from 2,900 in 1964-66. Similar increases are recorded outside the OECD, in Latin America, North Africa and Asia-Pacific, where daily per capita caloric availability now generally exceeds 3,000 calories per person.[3]
2006 Undernutrition Statistics The Global Hunger Index is established.[75][76]
2007 Undernutrition Program launch The World Hunger Relief program is launched by American fast food corporation Yum! Brands. It is most expansive private sector hunger relief effort, providing millions of meals to people in many countries.[77][78]
2007 Overnutrition Organization The United States National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity is founded with the goal "to create strong childhood obesity policy interventions that will reverse the epidemic by 2015".[79] United States
2007 Undernutrition Statistics 923 million people are reported as being undernourished, an increase of 80 million since 1990-92.[80] Worldwide
2008 Undernutrition Statistics The World Health Organization estimates that globally, half of all cases of undernutrition in children under five are caused by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.[81] Worldwide
2008 Undernutrition Organization Nourishing USA is founded.[82][83] United States
2010 Statistics As of date, malnutrition is reported to be the cause of 1.4% of all disability adjusted life years.[84]
2011 Overnutrition Organization EPODE International Network is founded. It is a non-governmental organization that seeks to support childhood obesity-prevention programs across the world.[85]
2011 Undernutrition Medical development An international consensus group adopts a definition of cachexia as “a multifactorial syndrome defined by an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass (with or without loss of fat mass) that can be partially but not entirely reversed by conventional nutritional support.”[86]
2011–2013 Undernutrition Statistics An estimated 842 million people suffer from chronic hunger in this period.[87]
2012 Undernutrition Organization National Crusade Against Hunger (Mexico) is founded. A program sponsored by the Mexican government, its main purpose is to significantly reduce hunger and poverty in Mexico through social intervention, increasing the general socio economic status of the communities by the development of infrastructure.[88] Mexico
2012 Undernutrition Charitable organization Vitamin Angels partners with vitamin A manufacturer, DSM, on distribution programs to eradicate childhood blindness by vitamin A supplementation.[89]
2012–2018 Undernutrition Statistics The number of stunted children decreases from 165.8 million to 148.9 million in the period.[90] Worldwide
2013 Overnutrition Product Wendy’s enhances the size and names of their drinks to keep up with the demand for soda from their consumers. They 32-ounce soda “biggie” is changed to medium, adding large 42-ounce soda, and changing medium French fries to small, “biggie” to medium, and “great biggie” to large.[20]
2013 Undernutrition Vitamin deficiency The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency is 29% in low-income and middle-income countries, remaining highest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.[91]
2013 Undernutrition Statistics An estimated 165 million children are estimated to have stunted growth from malnutrition in the year.[92] Worldwide
2013 Undernutrition The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency is 29% in low-income and middle-income countries, remaining highest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.[91]
2014 Undernutrition Statistics There are a reported 795 million undernourished people in the world in in the year, a decrease of 216 million since 1990.[55] Worldwide
2014 Undernutrition Program launch ShareTheMeal is founded. It is a crowdfunding smartphone application to fight global hunger through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). It enables users to make small donations to specific WFP projects and to track its progress. [93]
2014 Overnutrition Organization Global Energy Balance Network is founded. It is a US-based nonprofit claiming to fund research into causes of obesity.[94] United States
2014 Undernutrition Organization No Food Waste is founded in India to address the problem of hunger.[95] India
2015 Undernutrition Program launch The European Union and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launch a partnership to combat undernutrition especially in children. The program initiatilly is expected to be implemented in Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Laos and Niger, aiming at helping these countries to improve information and analysis about nutrition so they can develop effective national nutrition policies.[96] Worldwide
2015 Undernutrition Statistics Protein-energy malnutrition is estimated to result in 323,000 deaths worldwide.[97] Worldwide
2015 Undernutrition Statistics One in seven newborns, or 20.5 million babies globally, suffer from low birthweight in the year, with wide variations across regions, from 7.0 percent in Northern America and Europe to 17.3 percent in Asia.[90] Worldwide
2017 Undernutrition Statistics More than 75 percent of the world’s hungry, 78 percent of the stunted children and 64 percent of the extreme poor live in middle-income countries, and only in a handful of the world’s poorest countries.[90] Developing world
2017 Undernutrition vitamin A deficiency. A review finds that vitamin A supplementation in children 5 years old and younger in 70 countries is associated with a 12% reduction in mortality rate.[98]
2018 Undernutrition Statistics The United Nations estimates that there were 821 million undernourished people in the world in the year (10.8% of the total population).[99] Worldwide
2018 Overnutrition Statistics Globally, overweight affects 40.1 million children under five years of age in the year. While Asia and Africa have the lowest overweight prevalence (5.2 percent and 4.9 percent respectively), together they account for nearly three-quarters of all overweight under-fives in the world (46.9 percent in Asia and 23.8 percent in Africa).[90] Worldwide
2018 Undernutrition Statistics Worldwide, 49.5 million children under five are affected by acute malnutrition or wasting. More than two-thirds of all wasted children under five live in Asia.[90] Worldwide

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See also

External links


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