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Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2019. Placing nutrition at the centre of social protection

Asia-Pacific is home to well over half of all people worldwide who do not obtain sufficient dietary energy to maintain normal, active, healthy lives. To achieve SDG 2 in the region, more than 3 million people must escape hunger each month from now until December 2030.

In most countries in the region, the diets of more than half of all very young children (aged 6–23 months) fail to meet minimum standards of diversity, leading to micronutrient deficiencies that affect child development and therefore the potential of future generations. The high prevalence of stunting and wasting among children under five years of age is a result of these deficiencies. Only four countries in the region are on track to meet the global target of a 40 percent reduction in the number of stunted children between 2012 and 2025.At the same time, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is rising steadily among children and adults, negatively affecting health and well-being. Addressing the resultant burden of diet-related non-communicable diseases places great strain on national healthcare budgets and also causes productivity losses.

Social protection is an important way of reducing inequality and mitigating the impacts of disasters, and it is expanding in the region. A special section of this report discusses how to develop social protection programmes that accelerate progress in eradicating hunger and malnutrition.

Asia & Pacific