Every year, 16th October 2019 marks as the World Food Day. Food, that is a fundamental human right, has been a hot topic for years, while it is being wasted in so many parts of the world; people in other parts of the world are dying of malnutrition and hunger. It is a 'day of action' dedicated to tackling global hunger where various individuals and organizations come together and events are organized in over 150 countries across the world.
A celebration to honour the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945. Organizations like food security; the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development also celebrate the day.
The World Food Day (WFD) was established by the FAO's member countries at the Organization's 20th general Conference in November 1979. Playing a crucial role in the 20th Session of the FAO Conference, the Hungarian Delegation, led by the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food Dr Pál Romány suggested the idea of celebrating the WFD worldwide.
Since its initiation in 1981, the WFD has a different theme each year to highlight areas that need action and provide a common focus. These themes are related to agriculture as the investment in agriculture along with education and health can bring a change to the situation. The private investment directed towards agriculture is the key focus to ensure the growth of agriculture whereas the public investment should be focused on facilitating and stimulating effect on private investment.
A driving force for economies in developing countries, agriculture is usually starved for investment. In the absence of the domestic investment, one cannot expect the foreign investments to fulfil the needs of this vital sector; the foreign aid to agriculture has marked declines over the past 20 years.
In the recent years, the themes have been "Feeding the world, caring for the earth" in 2014, "Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty" in 2015, and the 2016 theme was dedicated to Climate Change: "Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too".
In the year 2019, the theme for World Food Day is focused on 'Healthy Diet' with a tagline of "Our Actions Are Our Future". In a world where the millennials who are suffering from obesity, the issues of hunger and malnutrition still exists and hence a hash tag #ZEROHUNGERWORLD is also included in the campaign.
World Food Day 2019: Balanced Diets and Hunger Free World
In the recent years, there has been a dramatic change and shift in the eating habits of the people, as the world saw the rise of food processing industry, the quality of life in terms of food degraded. Globalization, urbanization and income growth have been crucial factors resulting in this change.
The world has shifted its attention from the 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. Due to the fast-paced world, everyone looks for preparing meals in less time at home with ingredients from local supermarkets. The urban areas have created an increasing dependence on the fast food outlets, street food vendors and takeaway restaurants. Leading a life with a combination of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyle, the residents of the developed and low-income countries have high soaring obesity rates.
According to the FAO.org "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.
Obesity and other forms of malnutrition affect nearly one in three people. Projections indicate that the number will be one in two by 2025. The good news is that affordable solutions exist to reduce all forms of malnutrition, but they require greater global commitment and action."
The World Food Day 2019 will be focused on ensuring action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone. At the same time, it calls on everyone to start thinking about what we eat. The World Health Day has been celebrated in India, and this World Health Day, one should focus on ensuring awareness in the world regarding a healthy diet.
"A 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." – FAO.org