Food Coalition

Promoting healthy diets and good nutrition during and after the pandemic

Healthy diets are those diets that are of adequate quantity and quality to achieve optimal growth and development of all individuals and support functioning and physical, mental and social wellbeing at all life stages. They provide adequate calories and nutrients and help to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity as well as diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. The Region suffers from double burden of malnutrition, with high levels of stunting and moderate levels of wasting and overweight in children under the age of five and a growing burden of diet-related NCDs. According to the latest estimates, 9.2 percent of children under the age of five are suffering from wasting; 22.5 percent are stunted, 9.9 percent are overweight whereas more than one quarter (27 percent) of the region’s adult population is obese.

During the pandemic, border closures, quarantines, market, supply chain and trade disruptions in the region, have compromised the purchasing power of population in the NENA region and restricted people’s physical access to sufficient, diverse and nutritious sources of food. This may have worsened nutritional status of many, particularly in countries already affected by high levels of food insecurity. Even prior to the pandemic healthy diets were unaffordable for more than half of the region’s population. The challenges were greater for countries in a protracted crisis situation. This situation is compounded by the consumers’ lack of nutrition education and understanding of importance of eating healthy to prevent and combat various symptoms of the disease.

Priority Areas of work: Food Systems Transformation
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger
Level: Regional
Region: Near East and North Africa
Country: Iraq, Lebanon, Mauritania, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen
Budget: USD 5 to 8 million


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