A new United Nations (UN) study has revealed that two billion people are without access to healthy food.
The recently released State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report has warned that about a quarter of the world’s population struggles to eat 'safe, nutritious and sufficient food’. It noted that: “The lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food that these people experience puts them at greater risk of malnutrition and poor health," and that while, "primarily concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, moderate or severe food insecurity also affects 8 percent of the population in Northern America and Europe.”
Hunger and obesity
The joint report is issued annually by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.
This year's findings also revealed that, while hunger is on the rise in parts of Africa and the Middle East and in Latin America and the Caribbean, obesity is also a major issue. There were a reported 822 million obese people in 2016 and the report's authors warned that there is a crisis on the way if steps are not taken to address issues around health and access to good nutrition.
Looking for solutions
Speaking about the findings, the report’s editor Cindy Holleman, senior economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said, "We need to look beyond hunger. If we just focus on hunger, we're going to be missing a lot of the growing problems we're seeing."
The team advised that the steps to tackle these issues need to be bolder, inclusive and pro-poor to help address the issues. It called on all countries and stakeholders to work together "to free the world from poverty, inequalities, hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms".