New SOFA report urges priority action to fight malnutrition: FAO

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Mr. Kostas Stamoulis, Director of Agricultural Development Economics Division at FAO. [Photo FAO]

The cost of malnutrition to the global economy in lost productivity and health care costs are “unacceptably high” and could account for as much as 5 percent of the global gross domestic product. That assessment comes in this year's “State of Food and Agriculture report (SOFA)”, devoted to “Food Systems for Better Nutrition”. It says Child and maternal malnutrition continue to reduce the quality of life and life expectancy of millions of people, while obesity-related health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes, affect millions more. The report calls for priority action to combat malnutrition through changes in national and international food systems.

Kostas Stamoulis, Director, FAO Agricultural Development Economics Division says the malnutrition problem is more complex.

“As we say in the publication and try to hint in the presentation, the malnutrition problem is more complex so in order to make fundamental change in reducing malnutrition. We have to work in a more comprehensive way. Institutionally comprehensive at the country level and then the political will to put malnutrition with all its manifestations and complexities at the centre of the development effort to let's say integrate it into the development objectives of each nation in particular and the world in general has not happened in many cases.”

Mr. Stamoulis says there has been more effort and more success in providing people with the quality of food that would allow them to overcome undernourishment but it needs a little more coordination and better focus on malnutrition in order to do this.

The new SOFA report was launched Tuesday during a press conference at FAO Headquarters, in Rome.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’44″

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