Unhealthy diets could undo progress on food security: UN report

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UNITED NATIONS, Nov 12 (APP):Urgent action is needed to tackle malnutrition and promote consumption of healthier foods in the Asia-Pacific
region “ home to most of the world’s undernourished people“ the United Nations food security agency said in
a new report.
“Good nutrition depends on raising awareness about healthy foods and choices, as well as efficient, affordable
and sustainable systems to deliver that food,” Kundhavi Kadiresan, the head of the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in the Asia-Pacific region, said while announcing findings from the agency’s
regional report on food security and nutrition.

“If we are to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of [ending hunger] in the region, we must invest to
improve our food systems and pool our knowledge and resources to meet our current food and nutrition
challenges head on.”

The FAO report, 2017 Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition has revealed that while food
security has improved for millions of people in Asia and the Pacific, hunger and malnutrition appear to
be rising in some areas, leaving roughly half-a-billion people undernourished.

The situation is particularly dire for children below five, with one in four children suffering from stunting –
impaired growth and development, often as a result of poor nutrition.
At the same time, the report also found that obesity is on the rise, with ‘significant increases’ in the
prevalence of overweight children over the past 15 years, especially in South Asia (from three per cent
to seven per cent) and Oceania (five per cent to nearly 10 per cent).
The report was released Friday at a regional symposium on sustainable food systems in Bangkok, the
capital of Thailand.
Organized by FAO, in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization
(WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank, the symposium focuses on policies that can
improve food systems, and promote better nutrition and healthier diets.
The event was opened by the FAO Special Goodwill Ambassador for Zero Hunger in the region, Princess
Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, who urged participants to work together to find solutions.
“The world has committed to zero hunger and improving nutrition as a key outcome of the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development. We must look at improving our current systems of production and patterns of
consumption, and set a course of action,” she said.