Hunger in Costa Rica
During and after the Covid-19 pandemic, Costa Rica faced the health issue with closure of businesses and restrictions for the population to stop the spreading of the disease. Also, with airports closed too, the country also lost the most important income that´s tourism and exportations.
This meant that almost 25% of the population was unemployed or with reduced working hours. The economy in the country reached a new lowest low.
However, hunger in Latin America was on the rise before covid in alarming proportions. Statistics show that by 2021, 1 out of 6 persons in Costa Rica are missing at least 1 out of 3 meals a day.
Statistics also have results regarding the circumstances depending on the head of the household. For example, low-education migrant women in rural areas as head of household have more tendency to have food insecurity.
Hunger in children is way worse because it affects cognitive abilities. However, there are many churches, organizations and even schools with the benefit of community children’s kitchens where they are fed.
On the other hand, most retired old adults don’t receive enough money for rent, utilities, medications and food so it’s a problem to control the nutrition of this population. Above all, those who live alone.
Cost of living in Costa Rica is very high and the world wide container crisis has made it more and more difficult for the families to afford good quality and balanced food. It is cheaper to buy high sugar, salt and grease products than vegetables and meats.
ONU calculated that in 2020 at least 800.000 people in Costa Rica cannot supply their nutrition needs. That means 15.3% of the country’s population. Meanwhile, in 2014 this rate was 12.2% so it is in fact a huge increase through the years. It is also determined that 3 out of 100 persons in Costa Rica are facing severe food insecurity.
Now, even if this statistic is bad news, other countries in the Central America and the Caribbean region have it worse than Costa Rica. For example Guatemala (49.7%), El Salvador (47.1%) and Honduras (45.6%).
In the middle of the highest food insecurity, bad nutrition shows as anorexia, bulimia, diabetes, high pressure, obesity and more. Those conditions are co-related with sedentarism, low performance in jobs and education, increase of mental diseases like depression and anxiety and they decrease life quality and longevity. Malnutrition often starts in children.
Since Costa Rica’s economy is slowly recovering, it is important that the government do something about the other issues regarding the consequences of the global pandemic. State aid is key to all these familia who desperately need to be able to feed appropriately their families.