The United Nations (UN) has urged countries in Latin America to combat inequality and promote healthy and sustainable food systems, saying that the number of obese people is rising by 3.6 million in the region every year.
Unfortunately, people with a lower income and indigenous people in rural areas are the biggest victims, stated the international organization in its report titled Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security 2018.
Obesity has become the greatest nutritional threat, with nearly one in four adults growing overweight. Obesity affects 7.3% (3.9 million) of children under 5 years of age, a figure that exceeds the world average of 5.6%.
“Obesity is growing uncontrollably. Each year we are adding 3.6 million obese people to this region. 250 million people live with overweight, 60% of the regional population. The situation is appalling,” said Julio Berdegué, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) regional representative.
Governments should take immediate measures to ensure access to balanced and healthy foods, in addition to education, water and sanitation, and healthcare services, the international body has urged.
Considering the report, hunger has affected 39.3 million people in the region, 6.1% of the regional population, with the number of undernourished people growing relentlessly year after year.
Venezuela has become one of the countries with the highest number of undernourishment in the region (3.7 million, 11.7% of its population), along with Haiti (5 million, 45.7% of its population) and Mexico (4.8 million, 3.8% of its population).
Hunger is a major issue in Argentina and Bolivia as well. The good news is the hunger rate is falling in Haiti, Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.
According to the report, women suffer more food insecurity than men, and there are also more obese women.