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International Futures Help System


As noted in the overview of demographics, there is an element of mortality calculations that has historically captured considerable attention from many of those interested in long-term population forecasting, going back to at least Malthus's elaboration of the negative feedback loop linking undernutrition or starvation to higher death rates.  Donella Meadows, et al. (1972) popularized this in their discussion of The Limits to Growth.

In the current default representation of the model, with the health model turned on, that health model computes the rate of undernutrition among children (MALNCHP), the resultant total numbers of children undernourished (MALNCHIL) and the deaths associated with undernutrition.  Undernutrition in the health model is a function of calories, but also of access to improved sanitation and clean water.  Health interventions, including those to reduce diarrhea, can supplement greater access to calories to reduce the undernutrition and associated mortality.

In the legacy version of the population model there is a cruder and more overtly Malthusian representation.  A comparison of calories available with those needed can generate starvation deaths. Historical and contemporary data do not exist, however, to support calculation of starvation (the deaths of those who are severely malnourished are normally attributed to various diseases that prey on them, such as diarrhea among children).  For this reason and because of the considerably greater sophistication of the health model we recommend leaving that health model engaged.

Nutrition flowchart