The 2018 edition of the Global Nutrition Report, written by the chairs of an Independent Expert Group (IEG) of world-leading academics, researchers and government representatives, was published in late November.
The report highlights the worrying prevalence and universality of malnutrition in all its forms. Further, it provides a concrete overview of progress made and highlights solutions from around the globe calling on all stakeholders to act now to address malnutrition.
Malnutrition is a universal issue. A third of reproductive-age women are anaemic, while 39 per cent of the world’s adults are overweight or obese and each year around 20 million babies are born underweight.
Beyond health, slow progress on malnutrition is also impacting the social and economic development of countries. It is estimated that malnutrition in all its forms could cost society up to USD 3.5 trillion per year, with overweight and obesity alone costing USD 500 billion per year.
Though significant steps are being made to address malnutrition, progress has been too slow. Globally, stunting among children under five years of age has fallen from 32.6 per cent in the year 2000 to 22.2 per cent in 2017. There has been a slight decrease in underweight women since 2000, dropping from 11.6 per cent to 9.7 per cent in 2016.
In 2012 and 2013, the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted targets to significantly reduce the burden of malnutrition by 2025. The 2018 assessment of progress against nine of these targets reveals only 94 of 194 countries are on track for at least one of the nine nutrition targets assessed. This means that most countries are significantly off-track on meeting all nine targets.
The 2018 Global Nutrition Report highlights that solutions already exist but finds effective ideas are not being adopted at scale. To translate solutions into action, the report’s authors urge critical steps in the following areas:
• Breaking down existing silos to tackle malnutrition in all its forms;
• Prioritising and investing in data to identify key areas of action;
• Scaling up and diversifying funding for nutrition programmes;
• Immediately taking action on healthy diets by making healthy foods affordable across the globe;
• Implementing more ambitious commitments that are designed for impact through SMART targets.
The report is backed and supported, among others, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department for International Development (UK), USAID, Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of Canada, Irish Aid, The Eleanor Crook Foundation and the European Commission.
Visit the report’s website: globalnutritionreport.org
(Global Nutrition Report/ile)