State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report

Source: Down to Earth

What is the news?

Key findings of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report

  • The FAO report has quoted a study done in 63 low- and middle-income countries covering a population of 3.5 billion on changes in the income of people. It has extrapolated its impact on choice of diets.

Key findings

  • Dip in people’s affordability of healthy food: There is a significant dip in people’s affordability for healthy food due to a loss in income. The pandemic led to an additional 141 million people being unable to afford a healthy diet in the countries studied.
  • Loss of income & rise in food prices: The primary reason for a dip in affordability is the loss of income. But food price rise has made the situation more acute. By the end of 2020, global consumer food prices were the highest in six years. In the first four months of 2021, they continued to rise.
  • Healthy diet costs more: Cost of a healthy diet was 60% more than a diet that just meets “requirements for essential nutrients” and almost five times as much as a diet that just meets “the minimum dietary energy needs through a starchy staple”.
  • Lack of access to adequate and healthy food: In 2020, some 2.37 billion people couldn’t access adequate food, an increase of 320 million people in comparison to the 2019 figure. More people in 2020 were unable to afford a healthy diet in comparison to 2019.
  • Severe food insecurity: Nearly 12% of the global population faced severe levels of food insecurity or they ran out of food and in worst situations, must have a day without food. In 2020, the rise in the food insecure population was more than the combined number of the last five years.
  • Increased hunger levels: The overall decline in food intake has also increased hunger levels in 2020, making the primary Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger by 2030 impossible now. Between 720 and 811 million people in the world endured hunger in 2020. In comparison to 2019, there were an additional 161 million people who faced hunger.
  • Undernourishment: The increase in the number of undernourished was more than five times greater than the highest increase in undernourishment in the last two decades. Undernourishment due to the pandemic has impacted children the most, also a global goal to fix by 2030.
    • In 2020, 149 million children (under five years of age) will grow up stunted or too short for their age. Some 45 million children have been wasted, or do not have the right weight for their height.
Findings of other studies

Global Food Policy Report 2021

According to the recently released Global Food Policy Report 2021 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

  • The impacts of rising poverty and reduced livelihoods are reflected clearly in rising levels of food insecurity and decreasing diet quality.
  • Widespread food insecurity and a shift toward consumption of low-quality diets could, in turn, have devastating consequences for health and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries, especially among women of reproductive age and young children.
What is a healthy diet as per WHO?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “a healthy diet contains a balanced, diverse and appropriate selection of foods eaten over a period of time” and “it protects against malnutrition in all its forms, including non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Why a healthy diet is necessary?

According to the WHO,

  • Poor diet is a major reason for malnutrition, stunting and wasting among children, obesity, overweight and underweight and also diet-related non-communicable diseases.
  • Poor diets are responsible for 22% of all deaths among adults in the world.

Terms to know

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