World hunger not going down, obesity growing

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Furthermore, while conflicts and climate change remain the main causes of hunger, SOFI 2019 reveals that hunger has also increased in many countries where the economy has slowed down or contracted, mostly in middle-income countries of Latin America.

The United Nations reported on Monday that more than 821 million people suffered from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide past year.

To achieve self-sufficiency and ultimately food security in Africa, Sijbesma says richer donor countries need to show they are serious about helping to eradicate malnutrition and hunger by investing in agriculture and local food manufacturing instead so that African countries can become self-sufficient.

He pointed out that 17 SIDS out of the 38 that are United Nations member countries, are still not signatories of FAO-led Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) - the sole, binding worldwide agreement specifically targeting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Around 821.6 million people - or almost 11% of the world population - were still undernourished in 2018, the report said.

The findings show governments need to pay more attention to different aspects of food availability instead of just focusing on producing more, said the director-general of the FAO, which compiled the report with four other United Nations agencies.

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The report notes the highest hunger rates are in Africa and growing steadily in nearly all parts of the subcontinent, where climate and conflict, economic slowdowns and downturns have driven more than 256 million people into a state of food insecurity. At the same time, adding to these challenges, overweight and obesity continue to increase in all regions, particularly among school-age children and adults. It seems incredible that in 2019 Homo sapiens is still struggling with the fight against hunger, and even more incredible to see that we are losing! Hunger is not a problem the world should be confronting in the 21st century.

'And this trend takes more time and is more complex [to resolve] than hunger'. The UN Sustainable Development Goals aimed to reverse the trend of growing hunger by 2030.

Mr Beasley warned that extremist groups were using hunger and control over food supplies as a weapon to divide communities or recruit new members. The report emphasized the importance of economic and social policies to safeguard food security and nutrition. The authors of the report suggest "structural transformation is needed to include the poorest people in the world and by doing so integrating food security and nutrition concerns into poverty reduction efforts".

The FAO notes that current efforts are insufficient to half the number of stunted children by 2030.

Robin Willoughby, head of food and climate policy at Oxfam GB, said women are hit hardest by the rise in hunger. Moreover, economic slowdowns or downturns disproportionally undermine food security and nutrition where inequalities are greater. This sort of hunger has lasting impacts on its victims, especially children, who suffer from stunting and wasting.

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