publicado em 04/06/2013 às 20h59:00
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FAO report calculates cost of malnutrition at $ 3.5 trillion per year

Two million have micronutrient deficiency, 1.4 million overweight and 26% of children have stunted growth

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The Brazilian Jose Graziano Silva, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced on Tuesday (4) the numbers of the publication of the reference entity O Estado da Alimentação e da Agricultura 2013 (SOFA).

According to the report, the cost of malnutrition to the global economy in terms of lost productivity and health care reached $ 3.5 trillion (equivalent to 5% of world GDP) or about $ 500 per person each year.

According to the SOFA, two million people suffer from one or more micronutrient deficiencies, while 1.4 billion are overweight, of which 500 million are obese. About 26% of children under five are stunted growth and 31% suffer from lack of Vitamin A.

In social terms, child and maternal malnutrition continue to decrease the quality and life expectancy of millions of people, while the health problems related to obesity, such as heart disease and diabetes, affect millions more.

The survey also shows that the rate of 870 million people who still remained in a state of chronic hunger between 2010 and 2012, is only a fraction of the billions of people whose health, well-being and lives are affected by malnutrition.

Graziano da Silva said that although there have been some progress against hunger in the world, which is a form of malnutrition, there is still "a long way to go. FAO's message is that we must strive for nothing less that the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, "he said.

To combat malnutrition, SOFA believes that healthy eating and good nutrition should begin by food and agriculture. The report indicates that the way we grow, process, transport and distribute food influences what we eat, noting that better food systems can make food cheaper, diversified and nutritious.

The role of women

Giving women greater control of resources and the proceeds benefit your health and that of their children, the report said. Policies, interventions and investments in agricultural technologies saving labor, and work in rural infrastructure, as well as protection and social services, may also contribute to the health and nutrition of women, infants and children.

Among the projects that have had positive results in increased levels of nutrition include: increased production, marketing and consumption of vegetables and legumes in East Africa, the promotion of home gardens in West Africa, the mixed systems of vegetable cultivation and animal husbandry, along with income-generating activities, in some Asian countries, crop improvement basis, as the sweet potato, to increase their micronutrient content, and promoting public-private partnerships to enrich products with nutrients such as yogurt or cooking oil.

According to the SOFA, make food systems improve nutrition is a complex task that requires a big commitment and political leadership at the highest level, comprehensive and coordinated approaches partnerships with other important sectors, such as health and education.

As mentioned in the report, "A large number of actors and institutions have to cooperate in all sectors to more effectively reduce malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity."

"The regulation of food systems who lead, coordinate and effectively promote the collaboration of stakeholders is a priority," the report adds.

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