An initiative will promote healthy diets to prevent eleven million deaths a year

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Every year, unhealthy diets cause eleven million deaths and 420,000 more people die from consuming harmful foods. In addition, inadequate nutrition leads to chronic diseases that cause suffering and place a huge burden on the budgets of all countries.

To address this reality, five specialized UN agencies – the World Health Organization (WHO), the Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Environment Program (UNEP), launched this Friday a coalition that calls for action to offer healthy and affordable diets for all from sustainable food systems.

“The Coalition will support countries to achieve their goals of human health and environmental sustainabilitythus achieving a true victory for people, climate and nature”, said the WFP.

Members of the Healthy Diets Action Coalition noted that some 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet and poor diet is linked to six of the top ten risk factors for the global burden of disease.

On the other hand, malnutrition is a violation of human right to food and continues to generate social and health inequalities.

The unsustainable practices that define the world’s food systems today are also driving deforestation, biodiversity loss, ocean depletionthe appearance of zoonotic diseases and resistance to antimicrobials.

sick food systems

The UN agencies affirmed that the current food systems are making the population sick, so they urged to transform them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The agencies recalled that health, nutrition and environmental sustainability must be basic pillars of the transformation of food systems.

Healthy diets in a sustainable food system are regimens of food intake that promote health and prevent disease. But for its consumption to be generalized, it is necessary that healthy foods are available, affordable, accessible and attractive to all.

This food also needs to be produced and distributed using methods that ensure decent work and protect the planetsoil, water and biodiversity.

The Coalition’s vision is to mobilize and support collective action toward the goal of all people eat healthy diets of sustainable food systems.

Workplan

To this end, the agencies promoting the initiative stress the urgency of coherent and imminent policy actionspractices, data availability and resource allocation.

The Coalition’s work plan consists of three key points:

  • mobilize and coordinate the knowledge for orchestrated action on food systems for positive impact at the country level
  • To ease learning between countries
  • Manage special projectsaccording to the priorities of each country, to integrate the areas of nutrition, health and sustainability through food

Bringing this plan to fruition would make it possible to achieve several goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms, promote healthy lives and well-being for all, reduce noncommunicable diseases, improve maternal and child health, promote responsible consumption and production, and take urgent action to combat climate change.

What is expected

The expected result of the Coalition’s work is an increase in actions to make a collective impact in healthy diets produced by sustainable food systems.

The Coalition is already moving towards implementation of your plan of work and the realization of your vision.

The Coalition was formed after the UN Summit on Food Systems, held in 2021 and brings together Member States, UN agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions and social movements.

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