Nutrition

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Food and Nutrition Bulletin Supplement Volume 41 Issue 2: Improving Diets for Better Health and Sustainability

No matter how it is defined, nutrition starts with what we eat, the products of the food and agriculture sector. By working on our food systems, on the way we produce, collect, store, transport, transform and distribute foods, we can improve our diets, our health and our impact on natural resources. In lack or in excess, problems of nutrition always encompass inappropriate choices and practices. Nutrition education is an important step in empowering the consumer to make healthy food choices.

FAO's role in nutrition

Good nutrition is our first defense against disease and our source of energy to live and be active. Nutritional problems caused by an inadequate diet can be of many sorts, and when they affect a generation of youngsters, they can lower their well-being and learning capacities, thus compromising their futures.  In some cases, perpetuating an inter-generational cycle of malnutrition, with severe consequences on both individuals and nations.

While young children and women are the most vulnerable to malnutrition, the right to adequate food is universal and good nutrition is essential for all. Problems of malnutrition –undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity – exist in all countries and cut across socio-economic classes.

Emerging challenges, such as climate change, environmental sustainability and rapid technological shifts, are transforming food systems and raising questions about how to ensure healthy diets for a growing world population in sustainable ways.

At the same time, uneven economic growth, social and economic transformations and other factors are shaping food systems and diets. As a result, the prevalence of overweight, obesity and related non-communicable diseases are increasing while undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies persist. 

The Vision and Strategy for FAO’s Work in Nutrition (FAO Nutrition Strategy) is part of the Organization’s strategic framework, and aims at achieving the corporate goal of reducing malnutrition through efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems . The Nutrition Strategy seeks to tackle malnutrition in all its forms by accelerating policies and actions across agriculture and food systems to enable healthy diets for everyone. Through this mission, FAO will contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, leaving no one behind. The FAO Nutrition Strategy seeks to improve diets and raise levels of nutrition through a people-centered approach leveraging all FAO expertise in different areas of the food system, through the following actions: