Little Book, Big Data


Human Wrongs Watch

The Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published a comprehensive pocketbook of nutrition-related data covering all regions of the world ahead of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) taking place in the Italian capital on 19-21 November 2014. 

Source: FAO

Source: FAO

Food and Nutrition in Numbers – a pocket-sized compendium dedicated to the state of nutrition worldwide— offers diverse data and visualizations highlighting trends on such topics as micronutrient deficiencies, overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases from 1990 to the present.*

Additionally, it offers indicators on the links between nutrition, health and the environment.

Readers can find detailed data on such topics as food prices, food consumption, agriculture-related carbon emissions and land use, among others.

“The pocketbook is a useful reference for policy makers, as it provides an overview of various aspects of nutrition at country, regional and global levels,” said Josef Schmidhuber, Deputy Director of FAO’s Statistics Division.

“That’s the starting point for evidence-based food policy analysis, and for getting a more complete picture of health and environmental impacts associated with nutrition,” he added.

Malnutrition (hunger, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity) costs an estimated $2.8-3.5 trillion, or 4-5% of global GDP. That's $400-500 per person. | Source: FAO

Malnutrition (hunger, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity) costs an estimated $2.8-3.5 trillion, or 4-5% of global GDP. That’s $400-500 per person. | Source: FAO

In pockets and on Phones

Those interested in food and nutrition issues will be able to access the pocketbook on their portable devices via a mobile-friendly web app and online PDF version.

Small, pocket-sized print versions will be made available to delegations attending ICN2 — including more than 100 ministers, and representatives from civil society — who are gathering in Rome to discuss the nutrition challenges of the 21 century.

The pocketbook will serve as a tool for delegations to compare and discuss country data during the conference and to inform policy-makers at home.

42 million children under 5 are overweight. More than 500 million adults are obese. | Source: FAO

42 million children under 5 are overweight. More than 500 million adults are obese. | Source: FAO

Nutrition and Development

Nutrition is fundamental for development, according to Anna Lartey, Director of FAO’s Nutrition Division. “A country that does not pay attention to the nutrition of its citizens will pay dearly in health costs and loss of productivity and this can significantly reduce its economic development”, she said.

Trends

The pocketbook data shows that while progress has been made in reducing the percentage of hungry people globally (Millennium Development Goal 1c on halving the proportion of undernourishment is still within reach), the more ambitious 1996 World Food Summit target of reducing the number of hungry people by 2015 remains out of reach.

What’s more, some two billion people are micronutrient deficient – which means they lack the vitamins and minerals they needed to lead a healthy and productive life.

At the same time, there has been an increase in food waste and obesity globally.

“This means the world produces far more food than it needs, and we are leaving increasingly deep resource footprints, in terms of land and water use, carbon emissions, environmental degradation and other aspects of food production,” according to Schmidhuber.

The pocketbook aims to highlight these external aspects of nutrition by providing concrete data on the impacts of our current food systems.

2 billion people–around 1/3 of the developing world population–suffer from vitamin or mineral (micronutrient) deficiencies | Source: FAO

2 billion people–around 1/3 of the developing world population–suffer from vitamin or mineral (micronutrient) deficiencies | Source: FAO

From Data to Action

The pocketbook also reveals data gaps that need filling, and may inspire countries to start processes to gather missing information and make it available.

“In addressing malnutrition, it is not just enough to collect more data—data must guide action,” emphasized Lartey on the eve of ICN2, which provides an opportunity to harness political momentum for collaboration across all sectors to address malnutrition.

Ministers will gather Nov. 19-21 at FAO Headquarters in Rome for ICN2, where they will adopt the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and a 60-point Framework of Action that is meant to provide guidance for appropriate policy commitments by national governments.

Micronutrient deficiencies lead to poor growth and ill health, including blindness, brain damage and early death. | Source: FAO

Micronutrient deficiencies lead to poor growth and ill health, including blindness, brain damage and early death. | Source: FAO

“We live in a world of plenty and it’s remarkable how much more food agriculture has produced over the past decades,” added Schmidhuber.

“But what is equally remarkable is that in this world of plenty, we still have 800 million who don’t consume enough calories and 2 billion who don’t eat well – this is why this conference is so important.”

FAO’s new pocketbook on nutrition can be accessed online here. (*Source: FAO Release).

Read also:

Seven Key Facts About Child and Maternal Malnutrition

Europe Must Help Combat Hunger, Malnutrition — Failure Will Only Boost Migration, Stoke Conflicts

Chronic Malnutrition Hits 870 Million People, One in Eight World Inhabitants

Malnutrition Responsible of Half of All Child Deaths Under Five Years of Age

Chronic Malnutrition Hits 870 Million People, One in Eight World Inhabitants

‘Chronic Malnutrition’ in Afghanistan – UN to Feed 15 Million, Half of Total Population

2014 Human Wrongs Watch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: