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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Action on malnutrition is critical – da Silva

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Mr. José Graziano da Silva has explained why a global action is paramount on malnutrition, reports NaijaAgroNet.

He gave this explanation at the recently held United Nations General Assembly in the New York city, noting that some 159 million children under the age of five are stunted, which means they have a low height for their age.

“Another 50 million children in that age bracket are wasted in other words, they have low weight compared to their height,” he said.

The FAO boss also pointed out that some 1.9 billion people are overweight of whom 600 million are obese.

“And there is a gender dimension to this, too. Malnutrition continues to disproportionately affect women and girls, who often forgo food for male family members or lack the income to secure adequate nutrition for themselves,” he said.

This estimate, NaijaAgroNet gathered, suggested that maternal and child undernutrition alone cost up to 11 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as malnutrition in early life often results in ill health in adulthood.

Well-nourished children, inversely, are 33 percent more likely to escape poverty as adults. This means that investing in nutrition has significant potential to break endemic poverty cycles and boost economic development by allowing people to live healthy, productive lives.

As with ICN2, stewardship of the Decade of Action lies with FAO and WHO, who together will focus their efforts on two main objectives.

One is assisting governments in building national policies and programs that advance nutrition. The other is to align the efforts of existing global initiatives and social movements towards common goals.

To support concrete action on nutrition programs, both agencies will further organize special meetings to strengthen countries' technical capacities to tackle new nutrition challenges.

One example of this is a symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition to be held in Rome December 1-2.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that both agencies had agreed to put in place a solid system for reporting and monitor achievements.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops
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Pix: Mr. José Graziano da Silva

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