8.3 Chapter Resources


Progress continues in the fight against hunger, yet an unacceptably large number of people still lack the food they need for an active and healthy life. About 795 million people in the world still go to bed hungry every night, and an even greater number live in poverty. Poverty is the major driver of food insecurity. Improvements in agricultural productivity are necessary to increase rural household incomes and access to available food but are insufficient to ensure food security. Food security is essentially built on four pillars: availability, access, utilization and stability. Women are crucial in the translation of the products of a vibrant agriculture sector into food and nutritional security for their households. They are often the farmers who cultivate food crops and produce commercial crops alongside the men in their households as a source of income. Over the past 20 years, a global obesity epidemic has emerged. Due to established health implications and rapid increase in prevalence, obesity is now a recognized major global health challenge, and no national success stories in curbing its growth have so far been reported. Genetic engineering is the name for methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism. Advocates say that application of genetic engineering in agriculture has resulted in benefits to farmers, producers, and consumers. Critics advise that the risks for the introduction of a GMO into each new ecosystem need to be examined on a case-by-case basis, alongside appropriate risk management measures.

Review Questions

  1. Explain the four dimensions of food security.
  2. How are poverty and food security related?
  3. Define hidden hunger.
  4. Why is women’s role in agriculture important in food security?
  5. What percentage of overweight people live in developed countries?
  6. Do you think that biotechnology should be used to change the genetic makeup of the plants and animals that humans consume for food? What might be the benefits and risks? Do you think the benefits outweigh the risks?


Bora, S., Ceccacci, I., Delgado, C. & Townsend, R. (2011). Food security and conflict. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. Retrieved from https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/11719. Available under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0).  Modified from original.

CK12. (2015). Food and nutrients. Accessed August 31, 2015 at  http://www.ck12.org/user:a3F1aWNrQHdlYmIub3Jn/section/Food-and-Nutrients/. Available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. (CC BY-NC 3.0). Modified from original.

Godheja, J. (2013). Impact of GMO’S on environment and human health. Recent Research In Science And Technology, 5(5). Retrieved from http://recent-science.com/index.php/rrst/article/view/17028. Available under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0). Modified from original.

Maghari, B. M., & Ardekani, A. M. (2011). Genetically Modified Foods and Social Concerns. Avicenna Journal of Medical Biotechnology, 3(3), 109–117.

World Bank; Food and Agriculture Organization; International Fund for Agricultural Development. (2009). Gender in agriculture sourcebook. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. Retrieved from https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/6603. Available under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0).  Modified from original.

World Bank Group. (2015). Ending poverty and hunger by 2030: An agenda for the global food system. Washington, DC. © World Bank. Retrieved from https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/21771. Available under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 IGO (CC BY 3.0 IGO). Modified from original.


Page attribution: Essentials of Environmental Science by Kamala Doršner is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Modified from the original.


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Environmental Biology Copyright © 2017 by Matthew R. Fisher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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