According to the report, malnutrition is considered a “threat multiplier,” and is the leading cause of death and ill health globally. One in 9 people in the world is hungry, while one in three is overweight or obese. These inequalities are caused by agriculture systems focused on calories instead of nutrition, as well as the popularity and low cost of processed food.
820 million people around the world are hungry, and many countries’ citizens have additional health issues with diet-related diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Experts are now worried that the coronavirus will add an additional threat to countries trying to fight hunger and malnutrition.
Venkatesh Mannar, a special adviser on nutrition to the Tata Trusts and the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition, said: “Poor diet and malnutrition is not a matter of personal choice. Most people are not able to do this because of inequality of food systems. They not have access to a range of healthy food. The interface between the food supply chain and consumers is inequitable. The crisis has highlighted the need to look at malnutrition in all its forms seriously, and we believe it can be done in tandem with tackling the pandemic.”
Experts have called on governments to work toward food equality, create programs to help combat malnutrition and identify it as a problem. Cynthia Rosenzweig, a climate expert at the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the Guardian, “It is really a call to action for countries and international organisations, NGOs and the whole system, to create a transformation in the food system. Malnutrition is a threat multiplier. I think it has been ignored that people who are malnourished are likely to have lower immune systems.”
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