Almost half of the world’s population suffers from an unbalanced diet, either due to excess food or lack of it, a situation that also impacts the planet, according to a report published Tuesday.
The World Nutrition Report (GNR), published annually, notes that 48% of the planet’s population has health problems by excess of food, or by excess of some components in its habitual diet, like the meat, or by lack of nutrients.
At the current rate, the world will not be able to meet eight of the nine nutrition goals proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) by 2025, the text warns.
Among those objectives is reduce child malnutrition or stunting, as well as obesity among adults.
The danger of unbalanced diets
The report estimates that about 150 million children under the age of five are stunted, more than 45 million are malnourished and nearly 40 million are overweight.
Furthermore, more than 40% of adults (2.2 billion people) are overweight or obese.
“Predictable deaths from unbalanced diets have grown 15% since 2010 and unbalanced diets are responsible for a quarter of all adult deaths today, “said Renata Micha, head of the GNR Group of Independent Experts.
“Our worldwide research shows that our diets have not improved in the last ten years and now pose a threat to the entire planet,” he explained.
The importance of good nutrition
The report criticizes that people in low-income countries do not eat enough vegetables and fruits.
In rich countries, the problem is too much red meat, dairy and drinks with sweeteners.
The consumption of hyper-processed food has increased. Red and processed meat already represents five times more than the maximum recommendation per week.
The report also highlights that the current WHO nutritional goals do not mention diet, with the exception of the recommendation to avoid excess sodium.
The carbon footprint in food
On the other hand, the GNR calculates that global demand for food caused around 35% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.
“Food of animal origin has a higher carbon footprint per product than food of plant origin,” the text explains.
The cattle raising he is particularly responsible in that situation.
The GNR calculates that an annual budget of $ 4 billion would be needed until 2030 to combat malnutrition, stunting, maternal anemia and to meet breastfeeding goals.