Divay Kathuria

Food is one of the basic necessities of life but still in 21st century, the issue of food security is still ongoing and important issue to address. The world has not been generally progressing towards eradicating malnutrition or ensuring access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food for all people as per the zero hunger sustainable goal set by the united nations to decrease world hunger. Malnutrition in all its forms not only hunger, but also overweight and obesity is a critical challenge to both developing and developed countries.

Malnutrition is a condition resulting from eating a diet that contains either insufficient or too much of nutrients as a result of which health problems arise. Malnutrition ranges from extreme hunger and under nutrition to obesity. Obesity is when a person is too heavy for his or her weight. Hunger is a person’s inability to acquire enough food to meet minimum daily requirements. The basic causes of hunger and malnutrition are poverty, unemployment, war and lack of political and economic security. The reason behind rapid increase in obesity is the cheaply available foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt and lack of access to fresh fruits, meat, milk, eggs and vegetables result in under nutrition. Famines are an acute face of malnutrition and hunger as well. This causes a vicious circle of social evils as unemployment causes poverty and poverty causes malnutrition which in turn increases health care costs, reduces productivity and slows economic growth which perpetuate the cycle of poverty and ill-health. 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese while 462 million are underweight. Malnutrition has devastating impacts on children, as around 45% of deaths among children under 5 years of age are linked to under nutrition. Malnutrition affects survival rate of children and the learning capability of children making them unproductive in their later life. The developmental, economic, social and medical impacts of malnutrition are serious and long lasting for individuals and their families.

Every country in the world is affected by one or more forms of malnutrition. People who are poor are more likely to be affected by different forms of malnutrition. Combatting malnutrition is one of the greatest global health challenges. Worldwide, both local and international organizations should play an important role in solving this issue. It is important that malnutrition be treated as community issue, rather than an individual one which will help in bringing awareness on the topic therefore ending the cycle of malnutrition. Government must identify changes that will help all consumers to have healthy diets and implement actions to eradicate hunger, resolve all forms of under nutrition and tackle obesity. An appropriate action at the required scale is necessary.