Peanut Butter For the Hungry

Glossary of Terms

Hunger means going without food for a sustained period - malnutrition is the result of chronic hunger and, literally, means "badly nourished". Malnourished children, in particular, are susceptible to frequent infections and diseases and sometimes even death as a result.

  • learnHunger - the body’s way of signalling that it is running short of food and needs to eat something.Hunger can lead to malnutrition.[i]
  • Food security - The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”.[ii]
  • Lipid-based Nutrient Supplements (LNS) - a family of products designed to deliver nutrients to vulnerable people; the majority of the energy provided by these products is from lipids (fats).All LNS provide a range of vitamins and minerals, but unlike most other multiple micronutrient supplements, LNS also provide energy, protein, and essential fatty acids (EFA).[iii]
  • Malnutrition - a state in which the physical function of an individual is impaired to the point where he/she can no longer maintain natural bodily capacities such as growth, pregnancy, lactation, learning abilities, physical work and resisting and recovering from disease.The term covers a range of problems from being dangerously thin (see underweight) or too short (see stunting) for one’s age to being deficient in vitamins and minerals or being too fat (obese).[iv]
  • Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) - a serious, life-threatening condition—often characterized by severe wasting, or thinness—that results from illness, lack of appropriate foods, or other underlying causes. MAM is diagnosed by confirming that a child’s weight is too low, relative to their height, or their mid-upper arm circumference is too small.Children who are identified with MAM are often admitted to supplemental feeding programs (SFP), where they are provided additional food to supplement their diet received at home. Foods given in SFP are meant to supplement the diet of malnourished or at-risk individuals, not to supply them with an entire day’s caloric needs.[v]
  • Obesity - defined as excessive fat accumulation that may impair health; a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.Many low- and middle-income countries are now facing a “double burden” of disease; while they continue to deal with the problems of infectious disease and undernutrition, they are experiencing a rapid upsurge in noncommunicable disease risk such as obesity and overweight, especially in urban settings.In addition, it is not uncommon to find undernutrition and obesity existing side-by-side within the same country, the same community and the same household.[vi]
  • Protein energy malnutrition - a form of nutrition measured not by how much food is eaten but by physical measurements of the body- weight or height- and age (see Stunting, Wasting, Underweight).[vii]
  • Ready-to-use Supplementary Food (RUSF) - Food high in energy and protein with added vitamins and minerals, specifically designed to treat moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) in communities with limited access to appropriate diet.[viii]
  • Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) - food high in energy and protein with added vitamins and minerals, specifically designed to treat uncomplicated sever acute malnutrition (SAM) in outpatient and community therapeutic centers.[ix]
  • Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) - a serious, life-threatening condition—often characterized by severe wasting, or thinness—that results from illness, lack of appropriate foods, or other underlying causes. SAM is diagnosed by confirming that a child’s weight is much too low, relative to their height, their mid-upper arm circumference is too small, or they have edema (swelling) in both feet. With the invention of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs), the care of children with SAM has moved from in-patient, facility-based treatment to decentralized community and home-based care.[x]
  • Stunting - reflects shortness-for-age; an indicator of chronic malnutrition and calculated by comparing the height-for-age of a child with a reference population of well nourished and health children.According to the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition’s 5th Report on the World Nutrition Situation (2005) almost one third of all children are stunted.[xi]
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - informally referred to as food stamps, it is the U.S.’s largest program in the domestic hunger safety net.Offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families.[xii]
  • Undernourishment - describes the status of people whose food intake does not include enough calories (energy) to meet minimum physiological needs.The term is a measure of a country’s ability to gain access to food and is normally derived from Food Balance Sheets prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).[xiii]
  • Underweight - measured by comparing the weight-for-age of a child with a reference population of well nourished and healthy children.It is estimated that the deaths of 3.7 million children aged less than five are associated with the underweight status of the children themselves of their mothers (source: Comparative Quantification of Health Risks, 2004).[xiv]
  • Wasting - reflects a recent and severe process that has led to substantial weight loss, usually associated with starvation and/or disease.Wasting is calculated by comparing weight-for-height of a child with a reference population of well nourished and health children.Often used to assess the severity of emergencies because it is strongly related to mortality.[xv]