Home >News >India >Covid likely to worsen rising trend of wasting in children, obesity: UN

NEW DELHI : Covid-19 may exacerbate the rising trend of wasting in children, besides child and adult obesity globally, and render vulnerable people even more vulnerable, a United Nations report said.

The world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) by 2030 and the number of people affected by hunger will surpass 840 million by 2030, or 9.8% of the population, said the latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, a global study tracking the progress on ending hunger and malnutrition, published on Monday.

This is an alarming scenario, even without taking into account the potential impact of the covid-19 pandemic, said the report, which presented an assessment through 2019. This assessment is based on the data available in March 2020, just before the covid-19 pandemic began to take hold.

“The challenge of eradicating hunger and ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all now appears to be more daunting," tit added.

The report, jointly prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), the United Nations International Children’s Fund (Unicef), the UN World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO), also said that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019, up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years.

It is too soon to assess the full impact of the lockdown and other containment measures, but it is estimated that at least another 83 million people to 132 million, globally, may go hungry in 2020 as a result of the economic recession triggered by covid-19, the report said. “It is clear that the covid-19 pandemic is already delivering shocks to both the supply and the demand side of food systems throughout the world. The pandemic has created disruptions along the food supply chain."

Covid-19 containment measures are limiting labour mobility in areas dependent on seasonal or migrant labour and making it difficult to access markets and transport food within and across countries. Food supply disruptions and the lack of income because of the loss of livelihoods and remittances as a result of covid-19 means that households globally are facing increased difficulties to access nutritious food and are only making it even more difficult for the poorer and vulnerable populations to have access to healthy diets, it said.

Policy and structural impediments, including a weak private sector in low-income countries such as India, have also limited the supply response of vegetables and other non-staple foods, it said.

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