By Haruna Gimba
The 2018 Global Nutrition Report reveals malnutrition is unacceptably high and affects every country in the world.
However, the report added that there is also an unprecedented opportunity to end it.The report which is the world’s most comprehensive report on nutrition highlights the worrying prevalence and universality of malnutrition in all its forms.
The fifth edition of the report provided a concrete overview of progress made and called on all stakeholders to act now to address malnutrition.
Health Reporters gathered that the report provided new and expansive data highlighting the changing face of malnutrition in Africa.
It also sheds light on new initiatives from across the continent designed to respond to this greater and more diverse challenge. “The burden of malnutrition is unacceptably high. African region is by far the hardest hit by overlapping forms of malnutrition.
Among the 41 countries that struggle with three forms of malnutrition – childhood stunting, anaemia in women of reproductive age and
overweight among women, 30 of them, that are about 73 per cent are in Africa,” the report said.
Co-Chair of the Report and Director of the Centre for Food Policy, Corinna Hawkes said the figures call for immediate action. She said: “Malnutrition is responsible for more ill-health than any other cause. The health consequences of overweight and obesity contribute to an estimated four million deaths globally.
“The uncomfortable question is not so much why things are so bad? But why are things not better when we know so much more than before?”The 2018 Global Nutrition Report added that progress to date is simply not good enough. But it added that significant steps are being made to address malnutrition.
Data have shown an overall increase in both overweight and obesity in Africa. At the same time, the region is undergoing significant growth
in consumption of packaged foods.“ At the global level, none of the countries with sufficient data are on course to meet all nine targets on malnutrition, Africa is no exception,” the report added.
Executive Director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, added that the information in the Global Nutrition Report goes far beyond facts and figures.
“What is really behind these tables and graphs are stories of potential more babies seeing their first birthdays, of children achieving their potential in school and of adults leading healthy and productive lives, all on the foundation of good nutrition.
“The information collected, analysed and shared in the Global Nutrition Report is never an end in itself, but a means that allows us to save lives, change lives and ensure that nobody is left behind,” Beasley said.
Executive Director of the UNICEF, Henrietta H Fore said the 2018 Global Nutrition Report offers forward-looking steps to strengthen the ability of global and national food systems to deliver nutritious, safe, affordable and sustainable diets for children.
“This paradigm shift, food systems that contribute to prevent malnutrition in all its forms, will be critical for children’s growth and development, the growth of national economies, and the development of nations.
”Health Reporters gathered that the Global Nutrition Report is the world’s foremost publication on the status of malnutrition around the world. It acts as a stock take on the world’s nutrition globally, regionally, and country by country and on efforts to improve it.
The report tracks progress on global nutrition targets, ranging from diet-related non-communicable diseases to maternal, infant and young child nutrition.
It further reviews existing processes, highlights progress in combating malnutrition and identifies gaps and proposes ways to solve them. It also guides action, builds accountability and sparks increased commitment for furthering the progress that can reduce malnutrition much faster.