Posted by Adrianna Logalbo on October 11, 2012
Next Tuesday is World Food Day – an opportunity once a year (every October 16) to focus on one of the most persistent global challenges – hunger. In a world of mega supermarkets and fast food, there are still nearly one billion people who go to sleep hungry every night. As World Food Day USA states, this “is the greatest atrocity of our time.”
Historically our collective focus has been making sure there is enough food to feed the world, which continues as we prepare for a reality of more than 9 billion people by 2050. Yet what is often overlooked when we talk about hunger is the issue of nutrition.
Equally important to the quantity of our food is the quality of our food, the impact of which is far more hidden than the impact of hunger.
Today more than two billion people are chronically malnourished – lacking the very basic but essential nutrients necessary for their health and wellbeing.
And nearly 200 million children are stunted – meaning they are physically short for their age – due poor nutrition early in life, which impacts their health, development and long term productivity.
This is the hidden side of hunger.
How do you expose something that is hidden?
It’s true that we can often mobilize support around global issues (and local ones for that matter) when there is an urgent, immediate need. And hunger is truly urgent.
But nutrition does not seem to have the same level of urgency. It remains hidden as the underlying cause of 1 in 3 childhood deaths each year. Yet every day malnourished women are at risk of dying during child birth. Every day children fall ill to preventable diseases like pneumonia because they don’t have healthy, strong immune systems. Every day children’s learning potential is limited because they lack the essential nutrients for good brain development.
The everyday nature of nutrition is precisely what makes it so urgent. Nutrition matters and it matters every day. Perhaps every day should be treated as World Food Day, because food and nutrition matter every single day for every single one of us.