‘Asia and the Pacific- Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020’ Report
The 3rd edition of Asia and the Pacific- Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition annual report has been recently released. The report has been jointly published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Food Programme (WFP).
- As per Asia and the Pacific- Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020 report, poor people in the region have been greatly affected and are forced to choose less nutritious cheaper food for them.
- The first part of the report looks at the progress on key Sustainable Development Goals-2 (SDG 2- Zero Hunger) indicators and World Health Assembly targets up to the year 2019.
- The second part of the report looks into problems, challenges, and probable solutions for improving maternal and child diets in the region.
- Many key SDG indicators have shown less progress or completely no progress.
- Asia-Pacific has 351 million people undernourished which accounts for more than half of the global population (688 million).
- Stunting and wasting in young children has shown some progress in the 2030 SDGs target but the levels are still very high in many countries of the region.
- Overweight and obesity in adults and children is also a worrisome point.
- One key factor driving these nutritional challenges is the high cost of a healthy diet, which is two to nine times the cost of a basic energy sufficient diet in the region.
- Around 1.9 billion people in the Asia and Pacific region are unable to afford a healthy diet.
- Progress is also slowing in the region on improvement towards nutrition. Till 2019, more than 350 million people in the region are estimated to have been undernourished, including around 31.5 million suffering from wasting and nearly 74.5 million children under five stunted.
- COVID-19 has greatly affected progress on various indicators.
The report also highlighted the changing face of malnutrition. It means highly processed and inexpensive foods are readily available in the region. These highly processed foods lack vitamins and nutrition required for growth and lead to problems like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, etc.