Malnutrition in cities: It is as much about circumstance as it is about choice

By Aashim Malhotra, vice-president and managing director, Food & Beverages Group Asia Pacific, Dole Sunshine Company

Malnutrition is increasingly prevalent in developed cities.

Good nutrition is a human right and should be like sunshine: available and accessible to all. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates 3.1 billion people can no longer afford a healthy diet. Cities around the world are becoming food deserts (no access to nutritious foods) or food swamps (overrun with junk food outlets) exacerbating food insecurity, malnutrition, and poor diet choices.

To effectively combat global malnutrition, food producers and other food companies need to adopt a two-pronged approach: (i) generate awareness around the prevalence of malnutrition and the importance of good nutrition, and (ii) prioritise the nutritional value of the products that they are releasing into the market.

Malnutrition is an issue that affects every region regardless of the economic state of the city. At present, no region is meeting its recommendations for a healthy diet, no thanks to the rising food prices, which reached an all-time high in Mar 2022. Rapid food inflation rates make it harder for low-income families to purchase healthy foods.

Even those who have not been severely impacted by food inflation might not be meeting their daily intake of nutrients. Over two billion people across the globe suffer from some form of micronutrient deficiency. In Britain alone, three million people are affected by malnutrition, mainly due to the poor nutritional values in the food that they choose to eat. The sugary snacks you might pick up before a long drive, or the side of fries with your meal, are all unhealthy choices that have become second nature.

The full article can be found here.