New UN report shows one in three malnourished


Professor Barbara Burlingame from the School of Health Sciences.


The latest High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) project on nutrition and food systems has just been released. The report represents 15 months of work by the 10-member panel, which includes Professor Barbara Burlingame from the School of Health Sciences – the only New Zealander on the panel.

The report draws on the previous HLPE reports, many of which are highly relevant to various aspects of food systems, including the reports on sustainable agriculture and livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, and food losses and waste.

It provides a set of action-oriented recommendations addressed to states, civil-society organisations, and the private sector for advancing nutrition and contributing to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition. While emphasising the need for solutions that are context-specific, the report also highlights the need for consistent action at all levels.

Professor Burlingame says globally, one person in three is malnourished, whether it be under-nutrition, micronutrient deficiencies or obesity and its associated chronic diseases. “If current trends continue, malnutrition could affect half the world’s people within a couple of decades, in stark contrast with the internationally agreed goal to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030.”

Some of the report’s key recommendations for national policies and programmes include providing incentives for agro-ecological and other types of environmentally-friendly farming practices; promoting nutritious foods and sustainable diets along food supply chains; and developing national, actionable guidelines for sustainable diets for consumers.

“Nutrition per se is a multi-sectoral issue. Agriculture and the environment sectors need to be involved as much as the health sector in providing sustainable solutions to address the multiple burdens of malnutrition,” Professor Burlingame says.

Read the 152-page Nutrition and Food Systems report.

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