UN: FAO tasks governments on malnutrition

New York, US (PANA) - The Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Jose Graziano da Silva, on Tuesday in New York called on governments to take concrete action on malnutrition.

The FAO chief, who spoke at an event at the UN General Assembly celebrating the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, said the 10 years running until 2025 will be a critical time for action to build healthy and sustainable food systems and end malnutrition in all its forms.

He said that, the purpose of the Decade of Action on Nutrition is to continue to draw the world`s attention to the importance of combating malnutrition.

Graziano da Silva reminded governments of their commitments made at the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in 2014.

He also called on them to transform those commitments into action through national policies and programmes, stressing the need for better governance on nutrition globally, starting at country level.

According to him, today, one in three people worldwide, nearly 2.5 billion people suffer from at least one form of malnutrition, ranging from hunger to obesity to a lack of critical nutrients.

"FAO has maintained a great synergy with the World Health Organization (WHO) in leading the efforts in the fight against all forms of malnutrition.

"WHO is the lead in nutrition and FAO is to complement that work," the FAO chief stated.

He disclosed that, FAO has developed a work plan focused on the promotion of healthy food and healthy diets through nutritional education and the transformation of food systems.

Graziano da Silva said: "Today, some 159 million children under the age of five are stunted and another 50 million children in that age bracket are wasted because they have low weight compared to their height.

"Also, some 1.9 billion people are overweight, of whom 600 million are obese and there is a gender dimension to this, too.

"Malnutrition continues to disproportionately affect women and girls, who often forgo food for male family members or lack the income to secure adequate nutrition for themselves.

"Estimates suggest that maternal and child under-nutrition alone cost up to 11 percent of GDP, as malnutrition in early life often results in ill health in adulthood."  

He also said that, well-nourished children, inversely, are 33 percent more likely to escape poverty as adults.

"This means that investing in nutrition has significant potential to break endemic poverty cycles and boost economic development by allowing people to live healthy, productive lives," the FAO chief concluded.

FAO will be hosting a symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition in Rome, Italy, from 1-2 December.
-0- PANA AA/MA 21Sept2016

21 Setembro 2016 00:32:59

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