“Obesity and malnutrition”: Two sides of the same coin
Our food systems need a major overhaul. Revising, transforming and adapting them to the needs of today and our future will define our survival and that of our planet. In the book “Obesidad y desnutrición: consecuencias de la globalización alimentaria” (Obesity and malnutrition: consequences of food globalisation) published by Catarata, Kattya Cascante, current professor of International Relations at the UCM, points out the causes that brought us to this point and the possible solutions.
According to the author, obesity and malnutrition are two sides of the same coin, because they both represent the consequences of malnutrition in relation to the operation of the world food system, specifically referring to the globalisation of its production model.
Today, the challenge does not lie in the amount of food we are able to produce, and to confirm this we need only look at the worrying figures for the amount of food we throw away. On the contrary, the real challenge lies in properly selecting the methods we use to produce our food.
X-ray of a deficient diet
Cascante tells us that it is currently estimated that 7.9 billion people consume more than 3,600 calories a day compared to the 2,400 calories considered necessary by the World Health Organization. Furthermore, in 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) stated that the global ratio between stocks and human consumption of cereals is higher than the rate of population growth: up to 38% in the case of wheat and 35% for rice.
It is clear that food is available to us. In fact, there is more than enough. The current production system generates enough food to double the energy needs of the current world population. The question is, why is it that despite these figures there are more than 800 million people who cannot consume the necessary nutrients? And why do nearly 1.9 billion people consume too many calories, most of them empty of nutrients?
A comprehensive perspective of hunger and obesity in the world
Since 1975, the prevalence of obesity in the world has tripled, so it is not enough to take care of the thin undernourished person, we must look at the overweight undernourished person and treat both problems as one.
The author says it loud and clear: we cannot continue on this path. And for this, it is necessary to adjust our food systems. They must look to people, to the right to food, to sustainable food production and to the average farmer, who produces 70% of the food we eat.
Would you like to delve deeper into this topic? Click here to learn more about the book ““Obesidad y desnutrición: consecuencias de la globalización alimentaria” (Obesity and malnutrition: consequences of food globalisation)