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Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020

Maternal and child diets at the heart of improving nutrition












FAO, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. 2021. Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020: Maternal and child diets at the heart of improving nutrition. Bangkok, FAO.




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    Asia and the Pacific - Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023
    Statistics and Trends
    2023
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    This digital report is an update on the statistics and trends of the fifth edition of the Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition annual report published by FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP). It reports on the region’s latest food security and nutrition situation highlighting progress (or lack thereof) on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular SDG 2 – Ending Hunger) and the World Health Assembly (WHA) 2030 targets on food security and nutrition. The latest statistics indicate that the region, with 370.7 million undernourished people, continues to represent half of the world’s figure. Similarly, the Asia and the Pacific region accounts for half of the world’s severe food insecurity, with more women than men being food-insecure. Prevalence rates on stunting, wasting and overweight among children under 5 years of age, as well as anaemia among women of reproductive age, are still off the marks in terms of World Health Assembly global nutrition targets. In 2021, the average cost of a healthy diet in Asia and the Pacific was estimated at 4.15 PPP dollars per person per day, representing a 5.3 percent increase in the cost of healthy diet, from 3.94 PPP dollars in 2020. It is estimated that in 2021, 232.8 million people in the region could not afford the cost of a healthy diet. These statistics reaffirm the need for whole-of-government, well-coordinated and integrated actions and investments towards agrifood systems transformation if we are to turn the tide and put the countries back on track to meeting the 2030 SDG agenda.
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    Book (series)
    The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020
    Transforming food systems for affordable healthy diets
    2020
    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)
    2018 Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition
    Accelerating progress towards the SDGs
    2018
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    During the last three years, progress at reducing undernourishment has slowed tremendously in Asia and the Pacific. After years of gains in combatting hunger, progress has stagnated in all parts of this vast region. Despite decades of economic growth, nearly half a billion people remain undernourished. Children, in particular, continue to face the burden of malnutrition – this region is home to more than half of the world’s malnourished children – with one child in every four below the age of five suffering from stunting. This is a colossal human loss, given the association between undernutrition and poor cognitive development, with severe lifelong consequences for these children. At the same time, and almost paradoxically, Asia and the Pacific has witnessed rapid growth in the number of overweight children and the serious consequences that entails for their future health and well-being. This double burden of malnutrition sees undernourished and overweight children living in the same communities and households and it can even occur within the same child. Efforts to fight hunger and malnutrition must go hand in hand with those to build and sustain peace and there is an urgent need to accelerate and scale up actions that strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity of people and their livelihoods to climate variability and extremes. As migration from rural to urban areas continues apace, particularly involving poorer families, urban malnutrition is another challenge facing many countries. In summary, what is becoming increasingly clear is that the world cannot meet the 2030 target of zero hunger if Asia and the Pacific – the world’s most populous region – is not leading the way. It is a hard reality but one that must be faced with a united determination to turn things around. For the first time, four UN agencies have come together to jointly assess the state of food security and nutrition in Asia and the Pacific. Together, we hope that the findings of this report will contribute to a more informed dialogue. Without doubt, all stakeholders must make much greater efforts to accelerate progress toward the goals of a healthy and hunger-free Asia and the Pacific. Action is needed now. The sense of urgency cannot be overstated.

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