FAO in Laos

WORLD FOOD DAY 2019

World Food Day 2019 will mark the 74th anniversary of the Organization’s founding. One of the most celebrated days in the UN calendar, events organized by FAO country offices, governments, local authorities and other partners in up to 150 countries across the world, will call for increased action to achieve Zero Hunger.

 

THEME

OUR ACTIONS ARE OUR FUTURE.

HEALTHY DIETS FOR A #ZEROHUNGER WORLD.

 

KEY MESSAGES

·       Governments need to increase the availability and affordability of diverse and nutritious foods for healthy diets by setting, enforcing and regularly updating national food-based dietary guidelines and nutrition standards, and establishing cross-sectoral platforms to inform food and agricultural policies, and guide interventions such as school food and nutrition programmes, food assistance, public food procurement and regulations on food marketing, labelling and advertising. In order to achieve behavioral change, efforts need to be supported by mass-media, public awareness campaigns and nutrition education programmes, community interventions and point of sale information, including labeling.

·       Governments need to address malnutrition at its roots. Solutions rooted in food production (agriculture, livestock, fisheries, etc.) can make important contributions to reduce malnutrition, increase dietary diversity and improve nutrition for a healthier and sustainable future. Countries need to adopt nutrition sensitive food-production practices that focus less on high-yielding and economically profitable varieties and more on diversity and nutritional quality, by producing a diverse range of affordable, nutritious, culturally appropriate and safe foods in adequate quantity to meet the dietary requirements of populations in a sustainable manner. This will have a positive effect on our health, biodiversity and environmental sustainability and reduce costs of public health care.

·       The private sector needs to positively influence the food environment by introducing more nutritious foods and adhering to nutrition-related laws and standards regarding the production and sale of foods, reformulation of food products, front-of-package nutrition labels (warning consumers about high levels of total fat, saturated fat, sugar, or salt), and food marketing and advertising, especially when aimed at children. It is also crucial that important advancements in innovative technologies for the breeding of safe and nutritious varieties of crops are shared, particularly with low-income countries.

·       People need to be health conscious and informed to change their food choices and eating patterns and limit the consumption of highly processed foods that are high in fat, sugar and/or salt. We need to rediscover the importance of fresh seasonal produce, cooking skills, traditional knowledge and local biodiversity.

·       FAO is ready and available to provide countries with evidence on the multiple facets of malnutrition and to work with them to develop policy responses, providing technical support to global governance mechanisms for improving nutrition and promoting healthy and sustainable diets to a wide target audience, particularly through capacity development and awareness raising.

KEY FACTS

·       While over 800 million suffer from hunger, over 670 million adults and 120 million boys and girls (age 5-19) are obese and over 40 million children under 5 are overweight.

·       Over 150 million children under five are stunted and over 50 million are affected by wasting.

·       Unhealthy diets, combined with sedentary lifestyles, have overtaken smoking as the world’s number 1 cause of death and disability worldwide.

·       Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kill more people than hunger.

·       Different forms of malnutrition can co-exist within the same household and even the same individual during their life and can be passed from one generation to the next.

·       An estimated 2 trillion dollars is spent each year to treat health problems caused by obesity.

·       Billions of people lack the nutrients their bodies need to lead an active and healthy life.

·       Environmental damage caused by the food system could increase 50 to 90%, due to the increased consumption of processed foods, meat and other animal-source products in low- and middle-income countries.

·       Of some 6,000 plant species cultivated for food throughout human history, today only 8 supply more than 50% of our daily calories. We need to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods.

·       Climate change threatens to reduce both the quality and quantity of crops, lowering yields. Rising temperatures are also exacerbating water scarcity, changing the relationship between pests, plants and pathogens and altering the size of fish.