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Global Hunger, Malnutrition Costing World Trillions In Health Fees, FAO Report Says

“Global hunger, poor nutrition and obesity are costing the world trillions of dollars in health costs and lost productivity, according to a new report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),” VOA News reports (Baragona, 6/4). “In [the] hard-hitting report, the U.N. said the levels of malnutrition — which includes being overweight and obese as well as under-nourished — were ‘unacceptably high’ and called for a concerted global campaign to cut food waste,” The Independent writes, adding, “Malnutrition now costs the world $3.5 trillion — or $500 for every person — in health care and lost productivity,” according to the report (Bawden, 6/5). “The report notes that while some 870 million people were still hungry in 2010-2012, this is just a fraction of the billions of people whose health, well-being and lives are blighted by malnutrition,” the U.N. News Centre notes (6/4).

“Although some progress has been made in fighting hunger, a form of malnutrition, there is still ‘a long way ahead,’ FAO Executive Director Jose Graziano da Silva said in a statement to mark the release of the organization’s annual report,” according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation (Caspani, 6/4). The report “underlines the need to ensure all the institutions and people responsible for producing and processing food ‘align to support good nutrition,'” IRIN notes, adding, “The report also provides an overview of the linkages between agriculture, quality food, health and the economy, emphasizing that ‘agriculture and the entire food system … can contribute much more to the eradication of malnutrition'” (6/4).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.