The Paradox of "Fair Trade": The Influence of Neoliberal Trade Agreements on Food Security and Health

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Book Chapter

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One of the essential components of health is food. Food calls our urgent attention because it constitutes “the overriding human need, the very means of life, recognized in the charter of United Nations as a human right” (Madeley, 2000, p. 25). Food is a fundamental necessity in our lives. The Food Research Action Center (2005) notes a wide range of negative health outcomes due to hunger and malnutrition: hungry persons suffer from two to four times as many individual health problems, such as unwanted weight loss, fatigue, headaches, inability to concentrate and frequent colds; the mortality rate is closely related to inadequate quantity or quality of the diet; iron-deficiency anemia in children can lead to negative health effects such as developmental and behavioral disturbances that can affect children’s ability to learn; pregnant women who are undernourished are more likely to have low-birthweight babies and these babies are more likely to suffer delays in their physical and cognitive development; in addition to having a detrimental effect on the cognitive development of children, malnourishment results in the loss of knowledge, brainpower, and productivity for the nation; hunger and malnutrition aggravate chronic and acute diseases and speed the onset of degenerative diseases among the elderly; finally, hunger and food insecurity have an emotional impact on children, their parents, and the communities. Hunger, therefore, has tremendous impact on people’s health, quality of life, and the decisions made along the life path.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

The Paradox of "Fair Trade": The Influence of Neoliberal Trade Agreements on Food Security and Health, in H. Zoller & M. J. Dutta (Eds.), Emerging Perspectives in Health Communication: Meaning, Culture, and Power, Routledge, chapter 18