1 in 3 of global population malnourished

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LONDON:  “When one in three of us is held back due to malnutrition, we as families, communities, and nations cannot move forward,” Lawrence Haddad, lead author of the Global Nutrition Report and senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said Tuesday at a press briefing here.

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One in three members of the global population is malnourished, and the problem exists in every country on the planet, according to the report to be released on Sept. 22 in New York City.

“Too often people think of malnutrition as just a problem of hungry kids in the poorest countries, but this report shows that malnutrition has many forms and affects all countries, rich and poor alike,” said Dr. Corinna Hawkes, co-author of the report. “The coexistence of nutritional problems associated with extreme deprivation and obesity is the real face of malnutrition.”

Even if the global present situation may be worrying, China has made a great progress in overcoming malnutrition, Haddad told Xinhua.

According to the research findings, even though the strategies available to resolve malnutrition are not being implemented due to lack of money, skills, or political pressure.

Haddad indicated that the five “C” would resolve the problem — Commitment, Coherence, Coverage, Cash and Collection of data, which need governments, businesses, donors, NGOs and citizens to cooperate closely. Governments should play an important role in the course to make commitments, lead coherence, spend funds, make sure the utmost coverage of programs and monitor the welfare.

Answering Xinhua’s question about how to inspire businesses to show their positive effects in improving nutrition status of the society despite that they are mostly driven by profits, he said “Businesses listen to their customers, so consumers need to demand more transparent and responsible product formulation, labeling, marketing and advertising. They can do this by joining consumer watchdog groups. Governments can make it easier for businesses to do positive things for nutrition through subsidies and taxes and by granting licenses. But they also need to enforce legislation.”

“Businesses can regard health and transparency as a market defining and leading proposition and make health something they put centrally in their products. Businesses can also publish data on their activities and performance,” he added.

The timing of the report is particularly important as United Nations member states convene to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals later this month. Malnutrition is tied to many of the proposed goals-and when 45 percent of all deaths of children under five are related to malnutrition, it’s critical that leaders keep nutrition policy at the forefront of their decision-making.

IFPRI provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries, established in 1975, headquartered in Washington. PNA/Xinhua

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