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Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Europe and Central Asia 2020

Affordable healthy diets to address all forms of malnutrition for better health

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FAO, WFP, UNECE, UNICEF, WHO, WMO. 2021. Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Europe and Central Asia 2020: Affordable healthy diets to address all forms of malnutrition for better health. Rome, FAO, WFP, UNECE, UNICEF, WHO and WMO. 

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    Europe and Central Asia - Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023
    Statistics and trends
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    The Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Europe and Central Asia for 2023 – Statistics and Trends provides a comprehensive analysis of Sustainable Development Goal 2, focusing specifically on Target 2.1 (ending hunger and ensuring universal access to food) and Target 2.2 (eradicating all forms of malnutrition). Additionally, the report evaluates progress concerning three global nutrition targets: adult obesity, exclusive breastfeeding, and low birthweight, as endorsed by the 2012 World Health Assembly. It also offers an updated analysis of the cost and affordability of a healthy diet within the Europe and Central Asia region.Recent estimates affirm that hunger prevalence remains relatively low in the ECA region. Food insecurity at moderate or severe levels is notably lower compared to global estimates. However, food insecurity levels remain significantly higher than those recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the ECA region has made significant strides in reducing undernutrition overall, some countries still exhibit relatively high rates of stunting (over 10 percent) and wasting (over 3 percent). Overall, the region is not on track in addressing childhood overweight, adult obesity, anemia among women aged 15 to 49, and exclusive breastfeeding.Healthy diets play a crucial role in safeguarding against the impacts of malnutrition, fostering improved health outcomes. Notably, in the past year, the Western Balkans experienced the highest cost for a healthy diet within the region, surpassing both the ECA and global averages. Overall, there has been an increase in the number of individuals able to afford a healthy diet over the past year, while the percentage unable to afford it remains significantly lower than the global estimate.
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    Book (series)
    The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020
    Transforming food systems for affordable healthy diets
    Updates for many countries have made it possible to estimate hunger in the world with greater accuracy this year. In particular, newly accessible data enabled the revision of the entire series of undernourishment estimates for China back to 2000, resulting in a substantial downward shift of the series of the number of undernourished in the world. Nevertheless, the revision confirms the trend reported in past editions: the number of people affected by hunger globally has been slowly on the rise since 2014. The report also shows that the burden of malnutrition in all its forms continues to be a challenge. There has been some progress for child stunting, low birthweight and exclusive breastfeeding, but at a pace that is still too slow. Childhood overweight is not improving and adult obesity is on the rise in all regions.The report complements the usual assessment of food security and nutrition with projections of what the world may look like in 2030, if trends of the last decade continue. Projections show that the world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 and, despite some progress, most indicators are also not on track to meet global nutrition targets. The food security and nutritional status of the most vulnerable population groups is likely to deteriorate further due to the health and socio economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.The report puts a spotlight on diet quality as a critical link between food security and nutrition. Meeting SDG 2 targets will only be possible if people have enough food to eat and if what they are eating is nutritious and affordable. The report also introduces new analysis of the cost and affordability of healthy diets around the world, by region and in different development contexts. It presents valuations of the health and climate-change costs associated with current food consumption patterns, as well as the potential cost savings if food consumption patterns were to shift towards healthy diets that include sustainability considerations. The report then concludes with a discussion of the policies and strategies to transform food systems to ensure affordable healthy diets, as part of the required efforts to end both hunger and all forms of malnutrition.
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    Book (series)
    Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020
    Maternal and child diets at the heart of improving nutrition
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    The 2020 report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the Asia and Pacific region, provides an update on progress towards the 2030 targets (SDGs and WHA) at the regional and country level. Selected indicators look at undernourishment, food insecurity, childhood stunting, wasting and overweight, adult overweight, child minimum acceptable diet, exclusive and continued breastfeeding, and anaemia in women and children. While the region continues to work towards ending all forms of malnutrition and achieving Zero Hunger, progress on food security and nutrition has slowed, and the Asia and Pacific region is not on track to achieving 2030 targets. About 350.6 million people in the Asia and Pacific region are estimated to have been undernourished in 2019, about 51 percent of the global total. An estimated 74.5 million children under five years of age were stunted and a total of 31.5 million were wasted in the Asia and Pacific region. The majority of these children in the region live in Southern Asia with 55.9 million stunted and 25.2 million wasted children. Estimates predict a 14.3 percent increase in the prevalence of moderate or severe wasting among children under 5 years of age, equal to an additional 6.7 million children, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With basic food prices and disposable incomes influencing household decisions on food and dietary intake, they are critical to improve food security and nutrition in the region. However, in the Asia and Pacific region, 1.9 billion people are unable to afford a healthy diet, driven by high prices of fruits, vegetables and dairy products, making it impossible for the poor to achieve healthy diets. In Part 2, the 2020 report promotes a systems approach to healthy maternal and child diets, involving and coordinating institutions and actors in the Food, Water and Sanitation, Health, Social Protection and Education systems, to collectively create the enabling environment for healthy diets. Integration of healthy diets and nutrition-focused Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) mainstreamed throughout these systems will lead to greater uptake and sustainability of healthy behaviours and caregiver’s knowledge.

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