Although the report on the global state of food security and nutrition, prepared by several United Nations agencies, will be published next month, the Director General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, announced that his preliminary results show that “by for the first time we will have more obese people than hungry people ”.
During the inauguration in Rome of an international symposium on the future of food, Graziano highlighted that “malnutrition is growing very fast, especially obesity”.
Last year, the UN estimated that hunger had risen in 2017 for the third consecutive year to affect 821 million people worldwide, mainly due to conflict, climate change and the slow economic recovery, while obesity in adults affected more than 672 million in 2016.
In 2016, for example, the number of obese adults already totaled 104.7 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, much higher than the 39 million people who suffered from undernourishment in that region between 2015 and 2017.
“Now obesity is everywhere”, without distinguishing between developed and developing countries, said the head of FAO, who linked its increase to “change in diets” as a result of urbanization, the consumption of fast food and other many factors.
Change of focus: sustainability, health and equality
To avoid compromising the future of the population, he claimed to change the approach and move “from producing more food to producing more healthy food.”
Graziano recommended promoting private sector activity in this area with taxes, better labeling, restrictions on children’s advertising and “local circuits” of food in cities.
He also called for action in the commercial field, noting that obesity is growing rapidly in the countries that import the most food, such as small islands in the Caribbean or the Pacific.
The United Nations rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, insisted on incorporating principles such as sustainability, health and equality into food systems, promoting a human rights approach “beyond solutions linked to technology or technology. market”.
In a world that already produces more food than necessary, “focusing too much on technology can prevent us from thinking about the root causes of the problem,” Elver said.
The rapporteur asked to protect and empower the most vulnerable people to participate in food production and access to technology and training, in response to the “contaminated ecosystems” and the “destruction of communities of producer families” that has left the current system.