Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 11: Eating for Good Health
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Many illnesses can be prevented if people have enough good food to eat.
A woman needs good food to do her daily work, to prevent illness, and to have safe and healthy births. And yet, around the world, more women suffer from poor nutrition than any other health problem. This can cause exhaustion, weakness, disability, and general poor health.
There are many reasons for hunger and not eating well. One main reason is poverty. In many parts of the world, a few people own most of the wealth and the land. They may grow crops like coffee or tobacco instead of food, because they can make more money that way. Or poor people may farm small plots of borrowed land, while the owners take a big share of the harvest.
This poverty is hardest on women. This is because in many families women are fed less than men, no matter how little there is to eat. So the problems of hunger and poor nutrition will never be completely solved until land and other resources are shared fairly, and women are treated equally with men.
Still, there are many things people can do now to eat better at low cost. By eating as well as they can, they will gain strength. And when people are not feeling hungry every day, they are more able to think about their families’ and communities’ needs and to work for change.