On the eve of World Food Day, UNICEF has released their The State of the World’s Children 2019 (SOWC) report and, for the first time in 20 years, this flagship report explores the issue of children, food and nutrition.
Despite significant progress in the past two decades, malnutrition – including stunting, wasting, overweight and micronutrient deficiency – still affects hundreds of millions of children. This year’s edition provides an update on the global state of malnutrition and sets out key recommendations for addressing this complex, global challenge. It is accompanied by regional briefs which set out regional data, key messages and case studies.
The report reveals that a staggering number of children are either undernourished or overweight, without the nutrition they need to grow well. While the number of stunted children is falling in every continent except Africa, overweight and obesity are growing in every continent, including Africa, and at a fast rate. Globally, at least half of all children under five suffer from hidden hunger, lacking essential nutrients, which often goes unnoticed until it’s too late.
It’s a rapidly evolving issue that threatens the survival of children and the development of entire nations. At the core of the challenge, UNICEF identifies a broken food system that fails to deliver sufficient, nutritious food.
In addition to providing the latest facts and figures on malnutrition, the report also explores the impact of global trends urbanization, migration, globalization and climate change on children’s diets and nutritional status. For example, it explains how climate shocks, loss of biodiversity and damage to water, air and soil are worsening the nutritional prospects of millions of children and young people. An extensive set of policy recommendations and case studies further details how we can make food systems work for children. The report is an important new source of evidence and a call to action to raise cross-sectoral awareness of the issue of nutrition.
Investing in and improving children’s and young people’s nutrition lies at the heart of SDG 2 and 3 and is a crucial investment if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. The launch of The State of the World’s Children 2019 report provides a valuable opportunity to build awareness and drive progress on malnutrition as we move towards a better #foodfuture for everyone.