In 1800, the world’s population living in urban areas was less than 5 percent. By the year 2000, according to the United Nations, that number increased to 47 percent. In ten years’ time, that number is expected to reach 65 percent.
As these shifts have taken place, we have witnessed dramatic changes in our diets and eating habits. The world has begun to abandon the traditions of preparing meals at home, which have historically been seasonal, plant-based and fibre-rich. Preferring convenience, the world has turned to refined starches, sugars, fats, salt, processed foods, meat and animal-source products.
Dietary choices and sedentary lifestyles have pushed obesity into epidemic proportions not only in developed countries, but in low-income countries too, where hunger and obesity can co-exist.
– Currently, 670 million adults and 160 million children suffer from obesity worldwide.
– Astonishingly, over 820 million people still suffer from hunger
– This dichotomy is taking a toll on national health budgets, costing up to 2 trillion us dollars per year.
– Poor diets are now are a leading cause of illness, linked to one fifth of all deaths worldwide.
The annual celebration of World Food Day is an effort to bring attention to these issues. This year, it aims to push people everywhere to take action, under the theme: “Our Actions Are Our Future.” Dietary choices, from the products we consume individually, to planetary choices, including the reduction of our environmental footprints, can enable a movement of change.
[Inter Press Service]