Malnutrition & Obesity Unacceptably High-Global Nutrition Report

Global Nutrition Report 2018 which gives a comprehensive analysis of food and nutrition issues reveals that the global burden of malnutrition is unacceptably high and now affects every country in the world. Malnutrition costs a staggering $3.5 trillion per year and this sum dwarfs the costs of being overweight and obese, which the report’s authors tallied at $500 billion annually. The report published on Friday, 30 November 2018 also highlights that if we act now it is not too late to end malnutrition in all its forms. In fact, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do so.

  • Most countries have fallen short in their efforts to address poor nutrition and food insecurity.
  • The United States, world’s largest economy, appears to be badly off track on all its nutrition targets and continues to suffer from high rates of obesity, diabetes, and anemia, and has more than a million overweight children.
  • Globally 38.3 million children are overweight, with 5.4 million and 4.8 million of them, i.e. 26.6% of the total living in South and East Asia respectively.
  • Asia is one of the hardest hit areas when it comes to malnutrition.
  • India has the highest number of malnourished children in the world.
  • China also has a growing obesity problem, in addition to having the second-largest undernourished population.
  • India with 46.6 million and Pakistan with 10.7 million are the two countries out of three countries that are home to 47.2% of all stunted children.

Stunted means they are too short for their age and their height is a visible sign that not only their bones are not getting enough nutrients, but also their brains, indicating their hampered ability to learn and do not do well in school.

Lucy Sullivan, co-chair the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group, said that stunted children do not do well in school. Down the road, those affected may not be able to get as good of a job as they could have, had they been well-fed. It also prevents them from being able to contribute to society, and the economy, as well as they, would have in a healthier environment. According to Sullivan, fixing malnutrition comes with a $70 billion price tag, but compared with what it takes to maintain costs associated with the condition, that figure is relatively small, “The return on investment is so high,” she said.

Corinna Hawkes, co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report and director of the Centre for Food Policy wrote in the report, “Malnutrition is responsible for more ill-health than any other cause. The health consequences of overweight and obesity contribute to an estimated four million deaths globally” and said that the dire figures “call for immediate action,” and added “The uncomfortable question is not so much ‘why are things so bad?’ but ‘why are things not better when we know so much more than before?'”

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