The hidden adolescent nutrition crisis
Accessible, sustainable and nutritious food is a key ingredient for a stable and healthy society. With competing global crises demanding close attention, it’s easy to overlook one of the universal driving forces: food insecurity. Food insecurity acts in tandem with the climate emergency; current diets cause pollution and demand for resources, and the resulting increase in temperature disrupts food production and causes shortages in crops. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of job losses, orphans and extensive social protection systems, and families have become impoverished and hungry. This amalgamation of problems is leading to new global crises through civil unrest, fighting and mass migration. The climax of these disasters is the world’s most pressing societal challenge: a global nutrition crisis.
Global health is threatened by a pernicious cycle of malnourished pregnant women and children, who can only afford the cheapest and nutrient-poor foods, becoming nutrient-deficient adults at high risk of non-communicable diseases debilitating. Out of the six WHO 2025 global targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition (covering stunting, wasting, low birth weight, anemia, overweight and breastfeeding rate), the world is on the way to just one (50% of infants exclusively breastfed at 6 months). 150 million children under 5 are stunted and 40 million children are overweight. Overall, only half of the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables is consumed per week compared to five times the recommended level of red or processed meat.
Posted: 06 December 2021
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