Data gaps fuel global rise in malnutrition
A lack of data and a mismatch between the allocation of donor funding and health trends means that malnutrition is on the rise in all countries and now affects one in three people, according to the 2016 Global Nutrition Report,
From Promise to Impact: Ending Malnutrition by 2030
. “The Global Nutrition Report confirms the urgency of collective action to combat malnutrition’s cascading impact on people,” said Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme. In particular, new analysis contained in the report shows that no country is on course to achieve obesity goals for 2030, while a data gap for exclusive breastfeeding, overweight children under five, and stunting among children in the same age category, extends across 110, 84, and 79 countries, respectively.

Despite the fact that nutrition-related, non-communicable diseases cause 50 percent of deaths and disabilities in low and middle-income countries, such diseases are also said to have received just US$50 million in donor funding in 2014. The report also shows that an average of just 2 percent of the government budgets in 24 low- and middle-income countries were allocated for nutrition, with donor support to nutrition programs stagnating at US$1 billion. People in countries such as Botswana face a combination of under-nutrition in early life and obesity in later life, with a third of children under five being malnourished and 48 percent of those over 15 being obese. This challenge is not restricted to developing countries either. “While nearly 800 million people suffer from hunger globally, obesity is increasing in both rich and poor countries,” declared Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Bent Høie. The universal nature of nutrition was popular on social media, with the
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
tweeting: “Millions have too much of the wrong food, while millions more have too little of the right food”.

By Adam Pitt
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Photo: WFP