Malnutrition is a global crisis; it affects one in every three people, and rates continue to rise in every country in the world. It manifests itself in many different ways: poor child growth and development, overweight, obesity and micronutrient deficiency. The cost of malnutrition is enormous when measured in economic terms, and the social impacts can never be overestimated.
The 2016 Global Nutrition Report
was launched last week, in seven cities around the globe. The launch comes on the heels of renewed international attention to nutrition.
“We urge political leaders to learn from the successes of countries that have made good progress in attaining global targets for nutrition,” said Corinna Hawkes, Co-Chair of the report, on its launch during the EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2016
on 14 June in Stockholm, Sweden.
In Beijing, China, the report was launched as part of the 2nd Asia Nutrition Leadership Summit, where the Chinese Nutrition Society
and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI
) served as hosts. Emorn Udomkemalee, associate professor at the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, and Co-Chair of the report, said that “the co-existence of the multiple forms of malnutrition is the new normal, and this is unacceptable.”
The report highlights the staggering economic costs of malnutrition – losses of 11 per cent of gross domestic product every year in Africa and Asia – as well as the critical gaps in investments and commitments to date.
Source: Global Nutrition Report
Produced by a panel of independent experts empowered by the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group, the report reveals that there is insufficient progress in the fight against all forms of malnutrition. For example, looking at the numbers, almost all countries are off course regarding efforts to reduce anaemia in women and to prevent further increase in diabetes.
However, the report also tells us that reversing the malnutrition crisis is possible, and that it carries with it a massive return on investment. The report shows models of success for tackling malnutrition and cites areas where improvements can be made.
Some countries have made progress toward the attainment of global targets, despite numerous challenges. Many high-level organisations and governments around the world have spun into action to address malnutrition. Over the past decade, the momentum has caught up and steadily developed around commitments and targets; most recently, in 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Goals enshrined the objective of ending all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
The treatment of malnutrition is chronically underfunded, and requires a three-fold increase if we are to end the crisis. Nutrition is central to achieving sustainable development, within areas such as those of health, education, female empowerment and poverty reduction. With political will, countries can make nutrition commitments that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound – without these commitments, there can be no accountability. With the wealth of data and tools that come with it, the report aims to make it easier for governments and other stakeholders to actually make a high-impact commitment to end malnutrition in all its forms.
Matt Kovac, Executive Director of Food Industry Asia (FIA), says the data and analysis in the 2016 Global Nutrition Report, especially the data related to Asia, will support the work being carried out in the region by the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN
“We can use the findings from the research to support the dissemination of science-based information on the causes of malnutrition in all its forms, and improve clarity on the barriers and enablers for food innovation that would lead to improved nutrition in the region”, said Mr Kovac.
ARoFIIN is a partnership that brings together senior practitioners from across government, academia, industry, non-governmental and civil society sectors in Asia to initiate and sustain regional, multi-stakeholder dialogue on the role of food innovation in tackling obesity and chronic diseases in the region.