FAO report reveals food insecurity in Europe and Central Asia

The countries of Europe and Central Asia have made good progress reducing the prevalence of undernourishment, but some 14.3 million women and men in the region are still not getting the food they need and malnutrition problems are on the rise, according to a new FAO report.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in Europe and Central Asia 2017, analyzes a range of food security and nutrition indicators to assess the countries’ progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) by 2030. It appraises dietary energy supply, nutrition indicators such as stunting and wasting, anaemia, overweight and obesity, as well changing diets and their impact on different population groups.

After tremendous progress in recent years, the situation in the region now appears to be stagnant. The prevalence of undernourishment remained almost unchanged in the Caucasus and Central Asia according to the report which was presented at a Regional Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets.

“Poverty remains the single, most important obstacle to food security,” said Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia. “But there is a clear path forward. The Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, provide a powerful framework for tackling the challenges faced by the countries of Europe and Central Asia.”

To better appraise the drivers and features of food insecurity in the region, FAO’s report includes the new Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), which serves to complement the analysis of progress against Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) indicators on food security and nutrition. Providing more timely and comprehensive analysis, the new methodology shows that 14.3 million adults in the region suffered from severe food insecurity during the period 2014-16.

Yet, to fully assess the situation the nutrition data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) is key, the report noted. Malnutrition in one or more of its three main forms – undernutrition, overnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies – is present to varying degrees in all countries of the region, the report states.

“Often all three coexist, in what is called the ’triple burden’ of malnutrition,” said FAO senior policy officer Ariella Glinni, principal author of the report. “It is not unusual for countries to experience high rates of both child undernutrition and obesity. Micronutrient deficiencies and overnutrition in children, women and men have become two major food security and nutrition concerns across the region.”

Read more at FAO

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