Economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region has led to improved living standards and a rising life expectancy, and yet, half a billion people remain undernourished, stated a report by the OECD.
Life expectancy at birth in 22 Asian countries, not including OECD members Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, was 71.6 years in 2008, up 14 years from 1970, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report.
This compared with a nine-year increase in the OECD zone, which groups 34 advanced economies.
The infant mortality rate halved in the region since 1980, but, at 30 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008, it is still six times the OECD rate.
Calorie intake has risen from around 2,300 kcal per person per day in 1990 to 2,500 in 2007. But more than half a billion people -- 16 percent of the total population in the region -- remain undernourished, the report said.
Asian economies spend just over 500 dollars per person per year on health, against over 3,000 dollars in OECD countries. This amounts to over four percent of GDP in Asia, against nine percent.