T17 2019/10/19 21:00:21.121100 GMT+0530
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World Food Day

This topic explains about the World Food Day promoted by FAO and celebrated on October 16 of every year.

Introduction

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations marks World Food Day each year on 16 October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945. World Food Day was first held on 16 Oct 1981.

Objectives of WFD

The objectives of World Food Day are to:

  • encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end;
  • encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;
  • encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;
  • heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;
  • promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and
  • strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.

WFD 2019 Theme

Our actions are our future - Healthy Diets for A Zero Hunger World - is the World Food Day theme for 2019.

In recent decades, we have dramatically changed our diets and eating habits as a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth.

We have moved from seasonal, mainly plant-based and fibre-rich dishes to diets that are high in refined starches, sugar, fats, salt, processed foods, meat and other animal-source products. Less time is spent preparing meals at home, and consumers, especially in urban areas, increasingly rely on supermarkets, fast food outlets, street food vendors and take-away restaurants.

A combination of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles has sent obesity rates soaring, not only in developed countries, but also low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist. Now over 670 million adults and 120 million girls and boys (5-19 years) are obese, and over 40 million children under 5 are overweight, while over 820 million people suffer from hunger.

An unhealthy diet is the leading risk factor for deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. Linked with one fifth of deaths worldwide, unhealthy eating habits are also taking a toll on national health budgets costing up to USD 2 trillion per year.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet is one that meets the nutritional needs of individuals by providing sufficient, safe, nutritious and diverse foods to lead an active life and reduce the risk of disease. It includes, among others, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains, and foods that are low in fats (especially saturated fats), sugar and salt.

Nutritious foods that constitute a healthy diet are not available or affordable for many people.

What can you do to achieve healthy diets?

  • Choose local, varied, fresh and seasonal foods : Buy local, seasonal fruit and vegetables and to choose fresh over preserved or tinned foods. If you can, choose organic! Organic farming helps our soils to stay healthy.
  • Add variety with legumes, nuts and cereals : Experiment by adding different types of legumes (like lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans), nuts and cereals to family meals.
  • Snack healthy and say NO to Junk food : Choose one junk food that you would like to eat less of (less quantity or less often) and make a plan. When you need a snack, try choosing a ripe fruit, raw veg, nuts or whole grain bread rather than something packaged and less nutritious!
  • Follow the ONE THIRD VEG Rule : Fill up at least one third of your plate with vegetables during meals or try to eat an all-veggie meal once a week. Include at least one dark green and one orange or yellow vegetable a day, as they’re full of nutrients.
  • Go from white to brown : Swap refined “white” cereals for whole grains (brown rice, wholemeal flour and bread, etc.).
  • Understand labels : Read and understand food labels. Take time to read the list of ingredients on a label and try to identify if the food contains too much salt, sugar or fat.
  • Don't let packaging fool you : You need to pay attention to the nutritious value of food, not what it looks like, or how cool the packaging is. And look out for words like ‘zero’, ‘low in’ and ‘light’. They’re often used to make food sound more nutritious, and it isn’t always true...
  • Eat with your family or friends : Help to prepare a meal with family or friends at least once a week and eat it together. Eating in company is an important way to enjoy meals and spend time together.
  • Learn in the kitchen : Watch and learn as you cook meals. There are plenty of easy, quick and healthy recipes on the internet to inspire you.
  • Be a critical consumer : Be critical of the advertising you see on TV and in social media. Ask yourself if the food advertised is nutritious or not. Count the number of advertisements you see in a day and discuss with your friends and network.
  • Eat local and traditional : Ask your parents, teachers and people in the market what nutritious food is traditional or local. See if you can try to include this food in your diet more often to eat a varied diet and protect local varieties of food.
  • Protect our planet : Reduce foods that are harder on our planet. This could include foods that need more natural resources, especially water, to produce (meat uses more than plants or pulses), fruit and veg that aren’t in season or local. And remember to buy food with less packaging!
  • Take action at school / workplace : Do you have a cafeteria or vending machine? Have a look at the food they provide. Are there enough fruit and vegetables? If not, talk to your teachers/authorities about changing the food choices.
  • Drinks matter too : Drink plenty of water if you can. Try to reduce sugar-sweetened drinks that don’t have many nutrients in them.

Source : FAO

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