‘What we’re eating is killing us’: global nutrition report

The researchers analyzed 194 countries and found that malnutrition could cost the world $3.5 trillion per year, while overweight and obesity could cost $500 billion annually. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 29 November 2018
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‘What we’re eating is killing us’: global nutrition report

  • The report is an independently produced annual analysis of the state of the world’s nutrition
  • Progress has been “unacceptably slow,” the authors warned

BANGKOK: Poor diets are among the top causes of ill health globally, accounting for nearly one in five deaths, according to a study published on Thursday that called on governments and businesses to do more to improve eating habits.
Eating unhealthy food, or not having enough food — including children unable to breastfeed — contribute to widespread malnutrition, said researchers behind the latest Global Nutrition Report.
The report is an independently produced annual analysis of the state of the world’s nutrition.
“Diets are one of the top risk factors of morbidity and mortality in the world — more than air pollution, more than smoking,” said Jessica Fanzo, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and a lead author.
“What we’re eating is killing us. So something needs to get us back on track with our food system,” she said on the sidelines of a global food conference in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok.
She said a lack of knowledge and affordability of nutritious food, as well as ineffective supply chains, are among the factors that contribute to poor diets.
The researchers analyzed 194 countries and found that malnutrition could cost the world $3.5 trillion per year, while overweight and obesity could cost $500 billion annually.
Every country is battling some form of malnutrition — be it children who are anemic or too short for their age, or women who are overweight but undernourished due to unhealthy diets — and adolescence obesity rates are rising, the report said.
Most countries are unlikely to meet nine global targets on nutrition that they have signed up to achieve by 2025 including adult obesity and diabetes, anemia and child health.
Progress has been “unacceptably slow,” the authors warned.
However, there is now better and more detailed data, which has created an unprecedented opportunity to craft effective responses, according to the report.
It cited Amsterdam, which faced a weight crisis among young people and set up programs in 2012 to prevent and treat obesity, as well as facilitate learning and research on the issue.
Initiatives included public drinking fountains, restrictions on food advertising and guidance for healthy snacks in schools. Today, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Amsterdam is leveling off, the report said.
Reducing food waste could also improve nutrition, said Sir John Beddington, co-chair of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, an independent group of experts.
“Each year more than half of all the fruits and vegetables produced globally are lost or wasted,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.
Fanzo noted that nutrition is crucial to building up immunity against disease, as well as mental cognition.
“You have to care about what people are eating if you want to build the intellect of your country,” she said.


Moderate earthquake shakes Mexico, no damage reported

Updated 8 min 51 sec ago
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Moderate earthquake shakes Mexico, no damage reported

  • The 5.4 magnitude quake struck on the border of the southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero

MEXICO CITY: A moderate earthquake shook buildings in Mexico City on Monday, sending people running into the street for safety, but authorities said there were no initial reports of damages.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the 5.4 magnitude quake struck on the border of the southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of the beach resort of Acapulco, at a depth of 13 miles (21.6 km).
The head of Mexico’s civil protection agency, David Leon, told local television there were no initial reports of damage or injuries. The head of the agency’s Mexico City division, Myriam Urzua, said shaking was felt in several areas of the capital.
In parts of Mexico City, people ran out into the streets when they felt the shaking. Mexico’s national seismological service originally registered the temblor at 5.7 magnitude.