A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency and signed by Mr James Nickerson of Global Report, Africa was the region hardest hit by overlapping forms of malnutrition.
It disclosed that out of 41 countries that struggled with three forms of malnutrition – childhood stunting, anaemia in women of reproductive age, and overweight among women, 30 were in Africa with 73 per cent.
The statement quoted Madam Corinna Hawkes, Co-Chair of the Report and Director of the Centre for Food Policy, as saying: “The figures call for immediate action. Malnutrition is responsible for more ill-health than any other cause.”
“The health consequences of overweight and obesity contribute to an estimated four million deaths globally. The uncomfortable question is not so much ‘why are things so bad?’ but ‘why are things not better when we know so much more than before?’
The statement explained that globally, stunting among children under five years had fallen from 32.6 per cent in 2000 to 22.2 per cent in 2017, yet while it was declining at a global level, the numbers in Africa were increasing.
It emphasised that despite the decrease in stunting prevalence in Africa, driven by population growth, the number of stunted children had steadily increased from 50.6 million in 2000 to 58.7 million in 2017.
“Data shows an overall increase in both overweight and obesity in Africa. At the same time, the region is undergoing significant growth in consumption of packaged foods and at the global level, none of the countries with sufficient data are on course to meeting all nine targets on malnutrition with Africa being no exception,” the Report said.
It noted that spending around nutrition at all the national levels was inconsistent, with governments just as likely to increase future spending as to decreasing it.
Dr Jessica Fanzo, Co-Chair of the Report, was quoted as saying: “While malnutrition is holding back human development everywhere, costing billions of dollars a year, we are now in a position to fight it.
“From policies such as sugar taxes, to new data that enables us to understand what people are eating and how we can best target interventions, the global community now has the recipes that work.”
It disclosed that Mr David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, reiterated that: “The information in the Global Nutrition Report goes far beyond facts and figures. What is really behind these tables and graphs are stories of potential: the potential of more babies seeing their first birthdays, of children achieving their potential in school, and of adults leading.”
The Global Nutrition Report is the world’s foremost publication on the status of malnutrition around the world.
It acts as stocktaking on the world’s nutrition, regionally, and nationally on efforts to improve it.
It tracks progress on global nutrition targets ranging from diet-related non-communicable diseases to maternal, infant and young child nutrition.