UN: UN says global malnutrition costs US$3.5 trillion

New York, US (PANA) - As the two-day International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition kicked off on Thursday in Rome, Italy, participants were told that one in three people on the planet suffers some form of malnutrition, impacting public health and economic development at an estimated cost of US$3.5 trillion per year.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jose Graziano da Silva, said: "No country is immune from malnutrition – either undernutrition or overweight and obesity, with its human, social, environmental and economic costs are overwhelming.

"Nutrition must be considered a public issue, a government responsibility, and consumers must be empowered to choose healthy food and diets through nutrition-sensitive social protection, nutrition education, and effective and accurate labelling and advertising."

Co-organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO), the event will examine country-level challenges and successes, in order to shed light on effective approaches to reshaping food production, processing, marketing and retail systems to better tackle the problem of malnutrition.

Graziano da Silva pledged FAO’s support to help countries adopt a food systems approach to address all states of the food chain: from production and processing to marketing and consumption.

"Governments should encourage diversification of agriculture, improved post-harvest management, facilitate market access for poor family farmers and guarantee food-safety," he added.

The FAO chief also announced that King Letsie III of Lesotho is FAO’s newest Special Ambassador for Nutrition.

Also speaking, Ms. Francesco Branca, Director of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization (WHO), said: "Nutrition is a challenge for all countries. Whether it is stunting, wasting, anaemia or obesity, no country is exempt.

"With the sustainable development goals we are committed to end all forms of malnutrition by the year 2030, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and with the great leadership of many member states, the energy of civil society, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector we can collectively achieve in a short time dramatic change in food systems and the food environment, for the improvement of everybody's nutrition."

Branca disclosed that over two billion people on the planet suffer from health-affecting micronutrient deficiencies, and an estimated 150 million children under 5 years of age are stunted due to poor diets.

"At the same time, 1.9 billion people are now overweight – 600 million of them are classified as obese," she said.

In April, the UN declared the start of an "International Decade on Nutrition" to follow through on commitments made at the second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in 2014 and meet the nutrition-related targets of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  1Dec2016

01 ديسمبر 2016 18:56:52

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