2019 WFD: Healthy diet, fighting malnutrition, obesity the focus

ENE OKWANIHE, ABUJA

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The 2019 World Food Day (WFD) celebration focuses on healthy diets and calls for action to make healthy and sustainable diet accessible affordable to everyone with the theme “OUR ACTIONS ARE OUR FUTURE. HEALTHY DIETS FOR A ZERO HUNGER WORLD”

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Nigeria is undergoing a dietary transition and it is primarily due to globalization, urbanization, aggressive marketing and advertising and a shift in income earning.

Less is spent preparing meals at home, and Nigerians in urban areas are increasingly relying on away from home food sourced from restaurants.

Statistics shows that malnutrition is increasing across all regions and income groups as one in every three children is stunted and underweight is currently at 19.9%, which is higher than globally accepted numbers.

Overweight and obesity in adults are on the rise and 48.5% of women reproductive ages are anaemic.

The Country representative of the FAO to Nigeria Mr. Suffyan Koroma said that even though eradicating hunger is the organisation’s top most priority, malnutrition and the issue of obesity also needs attention.

“Eradicating hunger is FAO’s top priority, but we also need to address all forms of malnutrition and pay close attention to the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity. In Nigeria the prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults keeps increasing and is currently at 7.8%”  

The 2019 World Food Day calls on Nigerians to start thinking about what they eat and how they eat.

To achieve this, stakeholders across board from Government to research institutes, private sector, farmers, schools and the homes needs to improve dietary quality and shape food environment for children and youths in the country.

The further enhance this fight against malnutrition and obesity in the country; Nigerian government should expedite the passage of the Food Safety Bill and its implementation strategy into law.

The World Food Day (WFD) is celebrated 16th October annually and is aimed at heightening public awareness of the world food problems and also to strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and encourage people worldwide to take action in the fight against hunger.