Feast or famine is a global health dilemma
LONDON Almost every country in the world now has serious nutrition problems, either due to overeating leading to obesity or a lack of food leading to undernutrition, according to a major study.
Researchers behind the Global Nutrition Report, which looked at 140 countries, said the problems were ‘‘putting the brakes on human development as a whole’’ and called for a critical change in the response to this global health threat.
The report found that while malnutrition rates are falling globally, their rate of decrease is not fast enough to meet the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
More than 155 million children aged under 5 are stunted due to lack of nutrition, and 52 million are defined as ‘‘wasted’’, meaning they do not weigh enough for their height, the report says.
At the other end of the spectrum, overeating is taking a heavy toll on people of all ages world- wide. The report found that two billion of the world’s seven billion people are now overweight or obese. In North America, a third of all men and women are obese. Worldwide, at least 41 million children under 5 are overweight, and in Africa alone some 10 million children are now classified as overweight.
‘‘Historically, maternal anaemia and child undernutrition have been seen as separate problems to obesity and noncommunicable diseases,’’ said Jessica Fanzo, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in the United States who co-led the Global Nutrition Report.
‘‘The reality is they are intimately connected and driven by inequalities everywhere in the world. That’s why governments ... need to tackle them holistically.’’
Donor funding for nutrition rose by just 2 per cent to US$867 million in 2015, the report found. It said funding needed to be ‘‘turbocharged’’. Reuters