Nearly half of the world’s population does not eat well, according to the latest Global Nutrition Report (GNR) which is based on extensive data from the UN and WHO. Many efforts still need to be made to combat both anemia and overweight, and to promote healthy eating.
The fight against malnutrition focuses on five main objectives: stunting (when children are too small for their age), cachexia (weight loss and general fatigue due to serious illness or undernourishment), low birthweight, anemia and overweight in children, remind the independent scientists behind this report, published this Tuesday, November 23. However, even today in the world, “149.2 million children under 5 are stunted, 45.4 million are wasted (too thin for their height, editor’s note) and 38.9 million are overweight. ”
The goals are also far from being met regarding the fight against diet-related diseases (salt consumption, high blood pressure, adult obesity and diabetes). But today, “more than 40% of men and women (2.2 billion people) are overweight or obese”. At the current rate, the world will not meet eight of the nine nutrition goals set by the World Health Organization for 2025, the report says. Thus, 48% of the world’s population eats too much or too little, according to experts.
“Preventable deaths, due to unhealthy diet, have increased by 15% since 2010” to now represent “a quarter of all adult deaths,” the president of the group of independent experts told AFP. from GNR, Renata Micha.
Malnutrition leads to environmental problems
While 105 of the 194 countries assessed are ‘on track’ to reducing overweight children, only a quarter of these countries show positive results in tackling wasting and stunting, and anemia levels. among the youngest have not decreased or even worsened in 161 countries.
In addition to damaging our health, our diets also damage the planet. The Global Nutrition Report states that “the consumption of fruits and vegetables is still about 50% lower than the recommended level of five servings per day (…) and the consumption of legumes and nuts is more than two lower. third at the recommended level of two servings per day ”. Not surprisingly, lower income countries consume far less of these essential foods for a balanced diet. Problems made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, which has thrown an additional 155 million people into poverty.
In contrast, developed countries consume more foods that have harmful effects on health, such as sugary drinks and processed foods or dairy products. The consumption of red meat is also increasing sharply. “Foods of animal origin generally have a higher environmental footprint per product than foods of plant origin,” the report says.
The GNR calculated that global food demand generated some 35% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. “Compared to 2010, the environmental impacts of food demand increased by 14%, food of animal origin being responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions and land use. Diets in North America have the greatest impact on the environment, while those in Africa and Asia have the least, ”the report found.