Obesity a bigger threat to world health than malnutrition: Global Nutrition Report 2017

Overweight and obesity are on the rise in almost every country, with 2 billion of the world’s 7 billion people being overweight or obese, says The Global Nutrition Report 2017.

In India, 16% of adult men and 22% of adult women are overweight.

The study, conducted across 140 countries, says there is a less than 1% chance of meeting the global target of halting the rise in obesity and diabetes by 2025.

Undernutrition in children is decreasing globally, but progress is not fast enough to meet internationally-agreed nutrition goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

According to the report, 155 million under-fives are stunted; and 52 million children worldwide are defined as wasted, meaning they do not weigh enough for their height.

The report brings to light the crucial need to tackle the double burden of undernutrition and obesity, in order to address India’s national nutrition strategy.

Thirty-eight percent children in India under the age of 5 are affected by stunting, and 21% of under 5s are defined as ‘wasted’ or ‘severely wasted’, meaning they do not weigh enough for their height.

Rising rates of anaemia in women of reproductive age is also a big concern, with the report showing more than half of India’s women and almost one in three women affected worldwide and no country on track to meet global targets.

A staggering 88% of countries studied face a serious burden of two or three forms of malnutrition.

“The world can’t afford not to act on nutrition or we risk putting the brakes on human development as a whole,” said Corinna Hawkes, co-chair, Global Nutrition Report’s Independent Expert Group, and director, of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London.

“We will not achieve any of the Global Goals for SDGs by the 2030 deadline unless there is a critical step change in our response to malnutrition in all its forms. Equally, we need action throughout the goals to tackle the many causes of malnutrition.”

Where India stands

  • 38%: Stunted under-5 children
  • 21%: Wasted’ or ‘severely wasted’ under-5 children who weigh less for their height
  • 16%: Overweight adult men
  • 22%: Overweight adult women
  • 51%: Anaemia in women of reproductive age

Source: The Global Nutrition Report 2017