A recent report released by the United Nations Organization on World Food Day puts the blame on our sedentary lifestyles and dietary habits for increased obesity rates. A sudden increase in body fat is due to the reduction in regular physical exercise. October 16 is observed as the World Food day international day celebrated every year across the globe in an honour of establishment of Food and Agriculture Organization (established in the year 1945).
The situation has led us to a stage where almost 800 million people are considered to be suffering from obesity and over 40 million children under five years of age are overweight, the report mentioned. At the same time, the report also said the health costs of a sedentary lifestyle are estimated to be around USD two trillion per year.
Globalisation, urbanisation and growth in income were some of the major reasons behind the sudden diet shift as people find less time to cook at home and rely more on instant food available in supermarket and online food apps. The report stated that the people living in the cities or urban towns in recent decades have gradually shifted away from consuming seasonal diets, fibre rich food and mainly plant-based diet.
The report explains that consuming a diet loaded with starch, sugar, fats and salt; combined with a sedentary lifestyle, is the main reason behind the increasing global obesity rates, despite the fact that there are so many countries where people still suffer from hunger and malnutrition.
Such unhealthy eating habits is responsible for issues related to excessive BMI (Body mass Index) and obesity related issues like diabetes, heart diseases and certain type of cancers.
The report added that in some parts of Africa, hunger has risen by almost 20%. Around 821 million people are still suffering from hunger across the world with the numbers continuously increasing over the past three years and around one in three children are malnourished and not developing properly.
In a video statement released on recently, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, highlighted the need to make changes in the food systems in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and requested everyone to encourage and promote healthy diets that can restore the UN’s goal of zero hunger by 2030.
The UN chief announced that he wants to convene a major Food Systems Summit in 2021 hopefully, as part of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs.
Call to Action
FAO urges everyone should participate in promoting healthy diets and achieving the UN’s goal of zero hunger by 2030. Farmers and others in agricultural filed can spread their knowledge, and traditional, sustainable practices. Government can make savings by cutting food-related health problems and promoting healthy living to their citizens while the private sector can make a difference by reducing the amount of harmful ingredients in their products.