Where Do We Stand in Terms of Nutrition?
The Global Nutrition Summit happened in Milan on November 4th. Malnutrition in any form, undernutrition, obesity or both, is a terrorizing crisis that threatens to derail human development in almost every country in this earth-this is the most crucial finding of this year’s Global Nutrition Report.
The report states that the world faces a grave situation: All 140 countries deal with at least one of the nutrition problems, almost 88% (123 of 140) of countries face a serious burden of either two or three forms of malnutrition-childhood stunting, anemia in women of reproductive age and overweight in adult women, 2 billion people lack key micronutrients like iron and vitamin A and 1 in 3 people are malnourished. Although globally many significant steps have been taken towards nutrition improvement in the past few decades, the job is far from done. The Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) indicates that the number of people having insufficient access to adequate calories has increased since 2015 and the number of undernourished people has increased to 815 million (up from 777 million in 2015).
A Ray of Hope
The Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) of the UN included targets to end malnutrition in all forms in 2015. The members of the WHO have pledged to achieve these nutrition related targets by 2025.
Target 1: Achieve 40% reduction in stunting among children under 5 years of age.
Target 2: Achieve a 50% reduction of anemia in women of reproductive age.
Target 3: Achieve a 30% reduction of low-birth-weight infants.
Target 4: Curb increase in childhood obesity.
Target 5: Increase exclusive breastfeeding (during first six months) rates by 50%.
Target 6: Reduce and maintain childhood wasting by less than 5%.
Sadly, there is less than 1% chance of meeting the global target of halting the rise in obesity and diabetes by 2025. That’s mainly due to the fact that governments overlook the different forms of malnutrition and the linkages between nutrition and other development goals. One thing that is clear across all nutrition-related goals is that, maternal and child undernutrition on one hand, and overweight and obesity on the other hand are deeply connected having poor diet as their root cause. A mother’s poor nutrition choices before and during pregnancy can result in preterm birth, low-birth-weight infants and increase the risk of maternal anemia.
Improve Nutrition Among Nations
Good nutritional benefits help nations to sustain on long-term peace and stability. Let’s make good nutrition the global social norm and focus on increasing global investment in nutrition. Every country should make a commitment towards achieving these targets and steer the world towards prosperity.
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