Charity Right emphasizes need for nutrition in tackling world hunger as malnutrition increases
30 Nov 2021 --- Despite the United Nations’ goal to achieve zero hunger globally by 2030, levels of both food insecurity and malnutrition are rising. To tackle this, UK-based Charity Right urges organizations to provide affected areas with food aid that is packed with nutrition and is personalized.
Charity Right focuses on specific long-term food support to ensure children reach adequate body mass index levels to help them prosper and grow at the correct rate.
This call for a change in the way food aid is provided results from the lack of progress made in eradicating global hunger, despite years of efforts from organizations to reduce this problem.
“Children need to be given the right food. Many children are given food to keep them alive. For example, giving them lots of rice or potatoes is great short-term. However, in the long term, they need the right balance to make sure it doesn’t affect their growth,” Sajad Mahmood, CEO of Charity Right, tells NutritionInsight.
“We’ve always believed in regular, nutritionally balanced meals for school children to give them the best chance at life. Providing nutritious school meals means that children and their parents don’t have to worry about where the child will get their next meal.”
While emergency appeals are vital in the short term, charities and governments need to focus increased attention on the long-term goal of freeing people from hunger, adds Mahmood, CEO of Charity Right.
Additionally, Charity Right notes that the overhaul in food aid follows global turbulence in the economy and trade due to events such as COVID-19, along with conflicts within developing countries over the last two years.
Long-term consequences of malnutrition
According to a study conducted by the World Food Programme that analyzed 55 countries and territories, there are over 135 million acutely food-insecure people in crisis, with over 50% of those in Africa and 30% in the Middle East and Asia.
Defined as the prevalence of undernourishment, hunger is impacting a vast amount of people across the globe.
In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported almost 150 million children under the age of five years had experienced stunting as a direct result of undernourishment, further estimating that 45 million children were “worryingly underweight” for their age and height with 45% of deaths in children caused by undernourishment globally.
Additionally, Charity Right adds that when malnutrition is experienced at such a young age, it can also harm a child’s education as stunting inhibits cognitive development and impairs motor skills.
“Providing the right nutritional foods will ensure communities can receive both physical and cognitive benefits long term. For children, in particular, the correct nourishment will greatly improve health and help avoid irreversible food-related conditions, such as stunting,” Mahmood explains.
Organizations, such as UNICEF, have previously linked malnutrition and stunting to a seven-month delay in starting school and even up to 45% less in lifetime earnings, proving the issue becomes intergenerational.
“These statistics reveal the severity of the hunger issue around the world and how an emphasis on nutrition and consistency is vital,” adds Mahmood.
In addition to the continuation of food support, Charity Right wants to drive attention to the personalization aspect of food aid.
“The climate plays a role in the type of nutrition a person requires. There is not a one size fits all approach to food support across the world,” continues Mahmood. “People will experience different deficiencies, and this must be taken into consideration before sending out food aid to ensure the right support is given for lasting benefits.”
As hunger and malnutrition rates continue to rise, the Charity Right hopes that strategies for food aid are pivoted in line with the current social, economic and environmental climate with the aim that the world reaches as close to zero hunger as possible by 2030.
Tackling food inequality
Industry players have been interested in methods and strategies to tackle food inequality globally.
In this space, Nestlé unveiled a sorghum-based porridge using valorized ingredients to combat hunger.
Previously, ADM and Concern Worldwide partnered to tackle malnutrition in Ethiopia and Kenya through the Lifesaving Education and Assistance to Farmers (LEAF) Project.
Meanwhile, Abbott invested US$45 million into the new Abbott Center for Malnutrition Solutions in an attempt to reduce global malnutrition. The company will invest this amount annually, and the center will aim to treat, prevent and identify malnutrition for vulnerable populations.
Earlier this year, Future Food Institute (FFI) and the Dole Sunshine Company aimed to tackle global food insecurity by revealing the root causes of global nutrition inequalities, according to a study from Nutrition Unpacked, a research venture of FFI.
By Nicole Kerr
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