As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, a new United Nations-backed report said that the two faces of malnutrition — obesity and undernourishment — are the leading causes of death today. The 2020 Global Nutrition Report underscored how COVID-19 shed light on the inequality of global nourishment by hitting those groups harder.
Although the report was written before the coronavirus crisis, it included a foreword that explained how nutritional well-being has heightened significance in the face of this new global threat.
According to EcoWatch, the authors said, “The need for more equitable, resilient, and sustainable food and health systems has never been more urgent.”
The report pointed out that the COVID-19 outbreak severely targeted both ends of the spectrum of malnourished people: the undernourished who had weaker immune systems and the obese, whose poor metabolic health led to worse outcomes from the disease.
Tufts University professor and co-chair of the report Renata Micha said:
“Good nutrition is an essential defense strategy to protect populations against epidemics, relieve the burden on our health systems, and ultimately save lives. The findings of the 2020 Global Nutrition Report make clear that tackling malnutrition should be at the center of our global health response.”
The report detailed the necessity of reducing the production of highly processed foods while increasing the availability of affordable and locally produced fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, according to EcoWatch.
U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Gerda Verburg, coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, said:
“As we look to reinforce our resilience to global stresses, nutrition must become a key component of an emergency or long-term response.”
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