BANGKOK, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) — The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Friday revealed that some 486 million people remain undernourished in Asia-Pacific, and little had changed from the past two years.
According to the report released here in Bangkok, more than half of the world’s malnourished children live in Asia-Pacific. The region is also home to the fastest growing prevalence of childhood obesity in the world.
This paradox is attributed to a nutrition transition with children increasingly exposed to cheap and convenient unhealthy processed food rich in salt, sugar and fat but poor in essential nutrients. This double burden of malnutrition sees undernourished and overweight children living in the same communities and households and it can even occur in the same child.
The report says there are multiple causes of child malnutrition, including poverty, poor access to food markets and health services, as well as poor knowledge and practices for nutrition.
This complexity means that eradicating child malnutrition cannot be addressed through one sector alone and requires shared actions implements through multi-sector approaches that cut across food systems, health, sanitation, social protection and education.
The UN urges local city governments and urban planners to become the new nutrition partners and nutrition policy advocators in tackling these challenges.