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Global Nutrition Report

The Global Nutrition Report is a report card on the world’s nutrition—globally, regionally, and country by country—and on efforts to improve it. The Global Nutrition Report is an independently produced annual stock-take of the state of the world’s nutrition. The report tracks global nutrition targets on maternal, infant and young child nutrition and on diet related Non-Communicable Diseases adopted by member states of the World Health Organization as well as governments’ delivery against their commitments. It aims to make it easier for governments and other stakeholders to make - and deliver on - high impact commitments to end malnutrition in all its forms.

The GNR is an annual publication and the first series was published in 2014. It is delivered by an Independent Expert Group and guided at a strategic level by a Stakeholder Group, whose members also review the Report.

Global Nutrition Report 2021 - An overview

The 2021 Global Nutrition Report provides a concise data-focused update on the state of diets and nutrition in the world. Independent analysis of the best data on nutrition is critical for evidence-based, timely and effective actions to ensure we deliver on our global commitment to end poor diets and malnutrition.

Key findings

  1. To meet global nutrition targets in most countries, we need greatly accelerated progress.
    • Globally, we are off track to meet five out of six global maternal, infant and young children nutrition (MIYCN) targets, on stunting, wasting, low birth weight, anaemia and childhood overweight. We are also off track for meeting all diet-related non-communicable disease (NCD) targets, on salt intake, raised blood pressure, adult obesity and diabetes.
    • Lack of progress means unacceptable levels of malnutrition persist. Worldwide, 149.2 million children under 5 years of age are stunted, 45.4 million are wasted and 38.9 million are overweight. Over 40% of all men and women (2.2 billion people) are now overweight or obese.
    • There are countries showing some promising progress. For example, of the 194 countries assessed, 105 are on track to meet the target for tackling childhood overweight and over a quarter are on track to meet stunting and wasting targets. However, anaemia levels are showing no progress or worsening in 161 countries.
    • No country is on track to achieve the target on reducing salt intake or to halt the rise in adult obesity. In the Africa region, no country is on course to meet any of the diet-related NCD targets, and the only countries on course to meet both raised blood pressure and diabetes targets are a few high-income Western countries. There is a clear need for all stakeholders to step up efforts and take strong action to counter poor diets and malnutrition in all its forms.
    • The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are knocking us further off course. An estimated additional 155 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty globally, as a result of the pandemic, and people who are obese or have other diet-related chronic diseases are more vulnerable to Covid-19. This certainly adds to the challenge of meeting global nutrition targets.
  2. Our diets are increasingly harming our health and the planet.
    • Diets worldwide are far from being healthy and have not improved over the last decade. Fruit and vegetable intake is still about 50% below the recommended level of five servings per day that is considered healthy (60% and 40% respectively), and legume and nuts intakes are each more than two thirds below the recommended two servings per day. In contrast, red and processed meat intake is on the rise and almost five times the maximum level of one serving per week, while the consumption of sugary drinks, which are not recommended in any amount, is going up as well.
    • Despite some variation between regions, no region meets recommendations for healthy diets. Lower-income countries continue to have the lowest intakes of key health-promoting foods such as fruits and vegetables and the highest levels of underweight, while higher-income countries have the highest intakes of foods with high health and environmental impacts, including red meat, processed meat and dairy, and the highest levels of overweight and obesity.
    • Diet-related disease and mortality rates are large and increasing in most regions. Deaths attributable to poor diets have grown by 15% since 2010 – more rapidly than population growth – and are now responsible for more than 12 million NCD deaths in adults. This is a quarter (26%) of all adult deaths each year. The proportion of premature deaths attributed to dietary risks is highest in Northern America and Europe (31% each), and lowest but also at notable levels in Africa (17%). No region is on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of reducing premature mortality from NCDs by 2030. Every region faces the immediate challenge of addressing dietary risk factors and reducing mortality from diet-related NCDs.
    • The harmful impacts of our diets on the planet are alarming and increasing. According to our new estimates, global food demand is now creating more than a third (35%) of all greenhouse emissions and using substantial and rising amounts of environmental resources. Compared to 2010, the environmental impacts of food demand increased by as much as 14%, with animal-source foods responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions and land use. Northern American diets have the greatest environmental impact while African and Asian diets have the least. However, no region is on track to meet the set of Sustainable Development Goals aimed at limiting the health and environmental burdens related to diets and the food system. For example, all regions have diets that, if globally adopted, create impacts that are above sustainable levels if we want to limit global warming to less than 2oC. Every region needs large-scale dietary changes to achieve healthy and sustainable diets that tackle malnutrition in all its forms while preserving planetary health.
  3. The financial costs of addressing poor diets and malnutrition have risen while resources are falling, but the costs of inaction are far greater.
    • The additional financing needed to meet nutrition targets has grown significantly, partly due to the impacts of Covid-19. Available data allows us to estimate nutrition-specific financing needs for global nutrition targets on only stunting, wasting, maternal anaemia and breastfeeding. We would need on average US$10.8 billion additional financing annually between 2022 and 2030 to meet these four targets by 2030, allowing for the impacts of Covid-19. Previous estimates (for 2016−2025) were an additional US$7 billion annually.
    • These additional costs would be much larger still if they also included nutrition-sensitive needs and meeting all global nutrition targets, including for obesity and diet-related NCDs. The cost of meeting the SDG 2 targets by 2030 would also be substantial: approximately US$39−50 billion annually to meet both nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive needs. At the same time, the total economic gains to society of investing in nutrition could reach US$5.7 trillion a year by 2030 and US$10.5 trillion a year by 2050.
  4. Nutrition for Growth (N4G) tracking highlights challenges in delivering commitments and measuring progress.
    • While there is positive progress towards realising N4G[3] commitments made in 2013 and 2017, countries are struggling to meet financial and impact goals. We find from the 2020 reporting that over two thirds of donors and civil society organisations reported having reached or being on track to reach their financial commitments. The majority of donor (63%) and civil society (76%) non-financial commitment goals were also on track or had been reached. Only 42% of country financial commitment goals had been reached or were on course, while 41% of country impact commitment goals were on course, with none reported to have been met. Covid-19 has exacerbated challenges, with reporting that progress on 43% of country commitment goals has been severely or highly affected by the pandemic, primarily due to diversion of resources. It is clear that efforts to meet commitments must be intensified, particularly those relating to financing and impact by country stakeholders.

Three actions needed to speed up progress

  1. There needs to be a step-change in efforts and financial investments to end poor diets and malnutrition, and gain the high social and economic returns we know are possible.
  2. Poor diets and malnutrition can and should be addressed holistically and sustainably to create a healthy future for all.
  3. Better data, greater accountability and systematic monitoring are key to identifying the progress needed and ensuring we stay on track.
For the complete report, click here.

GNR 2021 - India profile

  • India is 'on course' to meet three targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN)
  • No progress has been made towards achieving the target of reducing anaemia among women of reproductive age, with 53.0% of women aged 15 to 49 years now affected.
  • Meanwhile, there is insufficient data to assess the progress that India has made towards achieving the low birth weight target, nor is there adequate prevalence data.
  • India is 'on course' for the exclusive breastfeeding target, with 58.0% of infants aged 0 to 5 months exclusively breastfed.
  • India is 'on course' to meet the target for stunting, but 34.7% of children under 5 years of age are still affected, which is higher than the average for the Asia region (21.8%).
  • India has made no progress towards achieving the target for wasting, with 17.3% of children under 5 years of age affected, which is higher than the average for the Asia region (8.9%).
  • The prevalence of overweight children under 5 years of age is 1.6% and India is 'on course' to prevent the figure from increasing.
  • India has shown limited progress towards achieving the diet-related non-communicable disease (NCD) targets. The country has shown no progress towards achieving the target for obesity, with an estimated 6.2% of adult (aged 18 years and over) women and 3.5% of adult men living with obesity. India's obesity prevalence is lower than the regional average of 10.3% for women and 7.5% for men. At the same time, diabetes is estimated to affect 9.0% of adult women and 10.2% of adult men.

To visit the India Nutrition Profile, click here.

Source : Global Nutrition Report

Last Modified : 2/2/2022



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