World Food Day highlights importance of healthy diet
ROME, Italy: World Food Day is celebrated annually on 16 October, marking the day the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), a United Nations agency, was founded in 1945. This year, more than 150 countries worldwide participated in a multitude of events under the theme “Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World”. People were encouraged to shift from a highly processed, sugar-laden diet to one rich in seasonal vegetables and fibre that could provide benefits for both oral and systemic health.
According to the FAO, diets around the world are become increasingly polarised. One-third of the global population is affected by malnutrition, and over 820 million people do not have enough to eat on a daily basis. In contrast, many of the more developed nations in the world are suffering from widespread obesity, due in part to high-calorie diets rich in refined starches, sugar, fat and meat. FAO noted that an unhealthy diet, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, is the number one risk factor worldwide for disability and death from non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Exacerbating these issues of inequality is a wanton approach to food waste, the organisation stated, with an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food either wasted or lost annually. “We waste about one-third of the food produced for human consumption, at a cost of US$990 billion per year,” Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said in an interview with Al Jazeera. “You would be hard pressed to find such inefficiencies in other industries,” she added.
FDI World Dental Federation released a statement in recognition of World Food Day that highlighted how an increase in sugar consumption has greatly influenced global obesity rates and levels of dental caries. Over the past 50 years, the worldwide consumption of sugar has tripled, according to FDI—an unhealthy development that has led to caries becoming the most prevalent NCD in the world.
For further information about events held in conjunction with World Food Day, visit the event’s official website.