Italy: FAO, WHO urge strong political commitment to tackle malnutrition

Rome, Italy (PANA) - As hundreds of millions of people around the world continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition, governments should make stronger commitments at the upcoming Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) to ensure healthier diets for all, the heads of FAO and WHO said Thursday.

A high-level, global intergovernmental meeting, ICN2, is scheduled to take place in Rome on 19-21 November, 2014. It is co-organized by FAO and WHO with other UN and international organizations with the theme: "Better nutrition, better lives".

Since the first international conference on nutrition in 1992, "important advances in the fight against hunger and malnutrition have been made, but this progress has been insufficient and uneven," FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said.

Over 840 million people are chronically undernourished, with the proportion of undernourished only falling 17 per cent since the early 1990s. Malnutrition is responsible for about half of all child deaths under five years of age, causing over three million deaths every year.

Meanwhile, various forms of malnutrition often overlap and can coexist within the same country and even within the same household. Around 160 million children under five are stunted or chronically malnourished, while over two billion people suffer one or more micronutrient deficiencies. At the same time, another half billion are obese.

"One aim of the conference (ICN2) is to provide the scientific basis for sound nutrition policies that promote food security and food safety while also promoting health," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a video message prepared for the press conference.

Chan said that among the important questions participants at ICN2 need to address is: "Why is it that severe undernutrition and obesity can exist side by side in the same country and in the same community?"

The WHO Director-General also noted the need to consider the health and environmental implications of another recent trend: "the rapid rise in the demand for meat and other animal products that coincides with rising income levels".
-0- PANA VAO 12June2014

12 june 2014 15:40:44




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