Sorghum has nutritional and health benefits. Smallholder Catherine Sibanda examines her sorghum harvest in the field in Jambezi District, Zimbabwe, March 2015. Photo credit: Busani Bafana / IPSBULAWAYO, December 2 (IPS) – COVID-19 has increased food insecurity around the world, leading to poor nutrition and deterioration Malnutrition, say food experts. They called for deliberate global investment in food as medicine due to growing diet-related diseases.
The famous Greek doctor Hippocrates predicted the future of food. He is said to have said: “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food”. COVID-19 has put the talk of food as medicine on the world agenda as more and more people care about their health and what they eat.
“COVID 19 has exposed the American population to infectious diseases, and it has started the conversation about food in medicine and how we need to reset our food system to create better quality, more nutritious food,” said doctor and author Mark Hyman. said a plenary session at the “Moving the Food System From Farm to Fork” virtual dialogue co-hosted by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) and Food Tank.
Hyman said a reshaped food system that creates better health for the population is a good strategy for pandemic resistance. He said that food as medicine is part of health care because it works better and faster and cheaper than most drugs and is probably the most effective treatment for most chronic diseases.
“Science recognizes that increased nutrient density and food quality are huge roles in human health and protective foods, foods that protect you from disease and have medicinal properties,” said Hyman. He suggested consuming cheaper plant-based foods. “We need to rethink agriculture and introduce more nutritious foods.”
Earlier this year, the United Nations warned that the pandemic would escalate a global food crisis – the worst in 50 years. The international panel said the pandemic would make nutrition inaccessible for many.
“Our food systems are failing and the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse,” warned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, suggesting three action plans to strengthen a failing food system.
Guterres said countries should designate food and nutrition services as essential while implementing safeguards for those who work in the sector, prioritizing food supply chains, and strengthening social protection for young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, the elderly and other risk groups. He also advocated reshaping food systems for a more inclusive and sustainable world.
More than 820 million people in the world do not have enough to eat, even though there is enough food to feed everyone. Around the world, around 144 million children under five are stunted due to malnutrition.
The United Nations has warned that nearly 690 million people, or 8.9 percent of the world’s population, were malnourished in 2019. That number could climb to over 840 million by 2030 if the current trend continues.
Working together is key to healthy eating and living
Peggy Liu, chair of the US-China Clean Energy Cooperation (JUCCCE), said more and more people are seeking the medicinal benefits of food. It was therefore important to bring together all actors in the nutrition and health value chain. Farmers, doctors, nutritionists and wellness professionals work together.
“Eating is the most intimate act we do with our body. Why don’t we pay more attention to it and how can we all unite to redraw the narrative of food? “Asked Liu, who found that effective measures are good for addressing issues such as food waste. For example, she said China has an empty plate campaign to reduce food waste, which is considered a leading source of emissions.
Filomena Maggino, advisor to the Italian Prime Minister and coordinator of the Benessere Italia Steering Committee, stressed the need to change the mindset of policy makers to take action that supports healthy food and fosters cross-sectoral coordination between food stakeholders.
“We know that better food is an integral part of longer and healthier lives,” said Walter Ricciardi, Scientific Advisor to the Italian Minister of Health and a member of the European Advisory Committee on Health Research at the World Health Organization, adding, “What we need now is multinational organizations like the European Union and the World Health Organization are working to make this a social responsibility, for example by providing governments with the best information to help them decide which strategies for taxation, funding and subsidy funding are best. ”
“We cannot do without food, and we have to promote good food. What we eat harms us, ”said Sara Bleich, Professor of Public Health Policy at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She argued that not only should people be fed healthily, but that the world must address deep inequalities that exist in access to food.
time to act
Sandro Demaio, renowned public health expert and founder of the Sandro Demaio Foundation, said no country is immune to malnutrition. As the world focuses on nutrition and health, the UN Food Systems Summit provides an opportunity to accelerate significant advances in food policy.
“Published science alone will never change the world. It’s about translating that into content messaging and concepts that people can easily grasp and digest,” said Demaio. “We have to hold each other and our leaders accountable, and we can do that and protect not only future generations, but billions who currently do not have the ability to eat well and lead healthy lives.”
Follow @IPSNewsUNBureauFollow IPS New UN Bureau on Instagram
(2020) – All rights reserved