The Commonwealth of Dominica, better known as simply Dominica, is an island nation located just north of Venezuela in the Caribbean sea. Dominica is known for its breathtaking views and tropical climate. Unfortunately, the country struggles with issues of malnutrition that have led to other pressing health problems. Hunger in Dominica has largely gone unreported due to the small size and population of the country. Understanding the issues of hunger in Dominica can help the United States and other supporting countries better understand how to assist the struggling country.
Hunger in Dominica: 5 Fast Facts
- Obesity: Hunger in Dominica has directly led to obesity in many people throughout the country. Studies show that 35.6% of women and 19.9% of men are considered obese in Dominica. The high rates of obesity are most likely due to a deficiency in the consumption of vegetables. Compared to the global and regional averages, people in Dominica are consuming significantly fewer vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Anemia and Diabetes: Anaemia is a condition in which people suffer from an iron deficiency in their blood. The rates of anemia are steadily growing in Dominica. Reports show that about a quarter of all women in Dominica suffer from anemia. Furthermore, diabetes is also a growing issue. This may be due to the consumption of high levels of some fats, such as polyunsaturated. It was reported that 13.6% of women and 8.6% of men in Dominica have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- Dependency: Much of Dominica’s access to food comes from outside countries, such as the United States. Because Dominica has a small population (about 71,000 as of 2019), it is difficult for people to produce their own food that is healthy enough to sustain life. The dependency on other countries started in 1986. At this time, the country’s population steadily decreased until it reached one of its lowest points at the end of the decade. Dominica people consume about 55% of imported food, leading to a mainly Western diet. As a result of this, Dominica is susceptible to similar health issues as their Western counterparts, such as diabetes.
- Effects of Climate Change: Because of its location in the Caribbean, Dominica is susceptible to various natural disasters, most notably hurricanes. Hurricanes damage the economy of Dominica, as the country is subsequently unable to export goods essential to its economy. CO2 emissions have also affected the area, as they have been increasing steadily. In 2014, Dominica produced 1,909 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. These changes have affected the production of resources, which has also affected the citizens’ diets.
- Outside Assistance: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is active in Dominica through various relief efforts. The FAO provided support for Dominica following the tropical storm in 2015 that cost the country millions of dollars in damages, and have been working to regulate the food imports to prevent hunger in Dominica. Their relief efforts have been working in Dominica from 2016 to 2019. They hope to develop long term strategies to teach citizens how to maintain a healthy diet. They also can assist the country’s financial stability in the event of another natural disaster that greatly affects the economy.
Dominica is a country in the Caribbean that has steadily been struggling with consuming more nutritious foods for sustainable health. Compared to the rest of the world, hunger in Dominica is not a pressing issue. However, because of the country’s dependence on imports, Dominica people see a high rate of obesity and related health issues. Coupled with the effects of climate change, Dominica can benefit from developing long term strategies to assist its citizens.
– Alondra Belford