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Tim makes an interesting point, especially when you compare it to the FCO's treatment of data on overweight in Iraqi adults, which appears *in the same report*.
Thus, we find the FCO writing in a recent letter (26th September 2000) that "the situation on the ground ... is improving ... Indeed a recent FAO/WFP mission reported that more than half the adult population in Iraq is overweight."
The (unsurprising) pattern seems to be that the FCO only accepts those figures upon which it believes it can place a pro-sanctions spin. Of course, the reality with regard to the overweight statistic is not exactly what the FCO would have the public believe.
For those who haven't read it the report goes on to state (page 23) that :
"Obesity is found in poor and rich sectors of society alike and may be due to several causes, including inappropriate diet, lack of physical activity and lifestyle. One factor may be the relatively high carbohydrate content of the rations which reaches all households at the expense of quality proteins and micronutrients. Physical activity of adults has been reduced due to unemployment and the adoption of sedentary lifestyles ... Obesity is not a new phenomenon to the region but it is likely that the long-term abnormal situation of Iraqi families contributes to this condition."
In other words sanctions have actually contributed to an already existing problem, through unemployment and by forcing an inappropriate diet (ie. the ration) on people. The report also states that "the major reported causes of death in adults are heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, all conditioned by obesity." (page 9).