The globalised food system is spreading unhealthy eating habits across the globe, especially in countries that are importing most of their food, FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva has said.
Addressing participants of a technical workshop on food safety and healthy diets organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he cited the example of small island developing states in the Pacific where more than 50 per cent (and in some up to 90 per cent) of the population is overweight in at least 10 island nations.
“Fast and junk food is the best example… This kind of food is cheaper, and easier to access and prepare than fresh food, particularly for poor people in urban areas,” he said.
The world has 2.6 billion overweight people, says estimates, and the prevalence of obesity in the global population has increased from 11.7 per cent in 2012 to 13.2 per cent in 2016.
“If we do not adopt urgent actions to halt the increasing obesity rates, we soon may have more obese people than undernourished people in the world,” Graziano da Silva said. “There are several underlying factors driving the global pandemic of obesity. Unhealthy diets are the most significant one.”