2020: a turning point for nutrition? – FoodNavigator.com

By | June 3, 2020

According to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report​, one in nine of the world’s population are hungry or undernourished, while one in three is overweight or obese.

Poor diets are not simply a matter of personal food choices, it argued. The report said agriculture systems focus on staple grains like rice, wheat and maize, rather than producing a broader range of more diverse and healthier foods, such as fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Fresh or perishable foods are less accessible and affordable in many parts of the world compared to staple grains. In Burkina Faso, for example, egg calories are 15 times more expensive than calories from staples, whereas they are 1.9 times more expensive in the United States.

Processed foods, especially ultra-processed food, meanwhile, are available, cheap and intensively marketed, with sales high and growing fast in many parts of the world.

The report suggested these changes demand policy and planning resources to promote desirable nutrition outcomes.

The solutions proposed include increased public investment for healthier food products, support for shorter supply chains for fresh-food delivery programmes, use of fiscal instruments such as taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, limiting advertising of junk food, and food reformulation, or the use of front-of-pack labelling to inform consumers.

Renata Micha, co-chair of the report and research associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, told FoodNavigator: “The findings of the report are timely. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of our food systems, disproportionately impacting already vulnerable populations.  

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