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Time to tackle malnutrition in the land of plenty


By Mariam Ahmed

Pakistan’s Indus valley is a world’s bread basket. The bowl of the world famous Basmati rice is located between Ravi and Chenab.Official forecast put this year’s paddy production at nearly 10 million tonnes

Yet, millions of people go to bed hungry in my country every day. The drought in the Thar district, for example, has taken the lives of 96 children in two months and about 300 in a year, because of malnutrition. Around 40 million persons are undernourished in Pakistan, or around one in five people. Hunger is a global issue: 805 million people do not have enough to eat

The good news is that hunger is going down. 200 million people less are undernourished now than twenty years ago

The bad news is that malnutrition is about a lot more than hunger alone. And that it affects a lot more people

Twobillion people suffer from ‘hidden hunger’ or undernutrition-vitamin or mineral deficiencies.Undernutrition causes almost half of all child deaths, and a quarter of living children are stunted due to inadequate nutrition

And there is obesity, the side of the coin of malnutrition. Diets containing excess fat, sugars and salt affect more than 500 million people world wide.  Obesity can lead to heart stroke, diabetes and cancer-ranking as the top causes of death in the world

Malnutrition, that is hunger, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity together costs an estimated $2.8-3.5 trillion, or 4-5% of global GDP. That's $400-500 per person

Now is the time to take tackle malnutrition

A gathering in Rome this week presents a unique opportunity to galvanize world attention around more and better food for all: the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2)-jointly organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization WHO

Over 170 countries made a number of concrete commitments and adopted a series of recommendations on policies and investments aimed at ensuring that all people have access to healthier and more sustainable diets

This is an important starting point. But the real challenges is to hear these intentions  resonate in regional and national actions throughout the world. And when the curtain drops on ICN2 in the glamorous setting of ancient Rome, its true success will be measured in the remote villages of Pakistan


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آخری تازہ کاری بوقت اتوار, 23 نومبر 2014 20:16