FAO warns of potential rise in diet-related illnesses in Europe and Central Asia

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Obesity and heart disease could become health challenges for Europe and Central Asia within the next two decades, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

FAO warns that as people consume more meat and dairy, the rate of diet-related illnesses could rise in parts of the region.

The findings come in a report to be presented at an FAO conference in Azerbaijan later this week.

Dianne Penn reports.

FAO says the increased risk of illnesses such as obesity and heart disease will place greater pressure on health systems, especially in the poorer countries of Central Asia.

The report finds that although hunger remains a significant concern in large parts of the Caucasus and Central Asia, it will only be a minor problem by the year 2030.

In fact, it predicts that the number of people experiencing hunger will drop from nine per cent to two per cent, reaching one per cent in 2050.

The report also looks at improving the environmental sustainability of the agriculture sector, and challenges to boosting food production.

It will be presented at FAO's Regional Conference for Europe and Central Asia which opens in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Thursday.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration:   50″

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