News / Health

UN: Global Malnutrition Costs Are Unacceptable

Women sell vegetables and other food in a market on World Food Day in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. One in eight people around the world goes to bed hungry every night, according to the United Nations.
Women sell vegetables and other food in a market on World Food Day in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. One in eight people around the world goes to bed hungry every night, according to the United Nations.
Global hunger, poor nutrition and obesity are costing the world trillions of dollars in health costs and lost productivity, according to a new report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The FAO report says fighting hunger is not enough. Tackling the more complex problem of malnutrition calls for action across the entire food system, from farm to fork.

About 870 million people worldwide are hungry, according to the FAO. But malnutrition is about more than just hunger.

“Two billion people are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals," said FAO's Kostas Stamoulis. "One child in four under the age of five is stunted. And 1.4 billion people are overweight.”

The FAO report says the combined effects of all these forms of malnutrition cut the world’s income by an estimated five percent per year, or about $3.5 trillion.

While about 40 countries have reached the goal of reducing hunger by half, there is a long way to go to improve nutrition.

Stamoulis says that is because good nutrition has not been the top priority.

“There has been more effort and more success in providing people with the quantity of food that would allow them to overcome what we call the undernourishment problem," he said. "But we need a little bit more coordination and better focus on malnutrition.”

The focus on nutrition is a new approach for FAO. The effort needs to involve players throughout the entire food system, from farmers and food processors to consumers and government agencies, according to FAO Deputy Director-General Daniel Gustafson.

“Everyone has to have nutrition goals and nutrition outcomes in mind throughout the food chain, and throughout all our work," he said. "And that is, in fact, a significant change.”

That work includes promoting diverse diets, boosting the production of nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, and cutting waste, which claims nearly a third of the food produced worldwide.

Stamoulis praised modern food processing, packaging and retailing for its efficiency, making meals available and affordable in ever-increasing areas. But he cautioned that ready access to unhealthy meals is also contributing to obesity.

Ultimately, Stamoulis says, consumers are the key to making healthy food systems work.

“You can process food properly, you can produce it properly, you can have the possibility to supply diverse diets," he said. "But if they are not consumed, the impact that we expect will be low.”

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sowmyaakamrddi from: india
June 12, 2013 6:13 AM
FARMING :AN "ENDANGERED" SEGMENT IN THE SOCIETY ?
Food production itself is a major challenge.villages are getting deserted.arable land is being changed into commercial crops.farmers are migrating to towns and turned into labourers.can the deteriorating cultivable land feed the fast growing population is the question of the hour.we must act now and change the picture or perish.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid