Malnutrition Threatens the World

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Obesity kills as many people every year as hunger. Annually more than 2.6 million people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), die due to this epidemic.

In a world of paradoxes like this, while hunger dominates on one side, its worst antithesis gains ground on the other. And from both flagella is born a worrying conclusion: humanity faces a serious nutritional situation.

“Some 2 billion people lack of key micronutrients such as iron and vitamin A, 52 million children suffer from emaciation (involuntary loss of more than 10% of body weight) … 88% of countries bear the heavy burden of two or three forms of malnutrition (stunting in childhood, anemia in women of childbearing age reproductive or overweight in adult women), and progress towards global nutrition goals is evolving slowly, “says the 2017 World Nutrition Report.

If the data were not entirely clear, it is enough to know that on the planet 1 in 3 people is malnourished.

Obesity kills as many people every year as hunger. Annually more than 2.6 million people according to the World Health Organization (WHO) die due to this epidemic; defined as excess body fat due to an energy imbalance caused by a high energy intake superimposed on a low expenditure.

Laura Melo, representative of the World Food Program in Cuba,  celebrates its 55 years of cooperation. PMA agency told Granma newspaper that, according to the report, Cuba is among the nations with the greatest coverage and interventions to strengthen the maternal and child nutrition. “It is known, however, that iron deficiency anemia, overweight and obesity are concerns and priorities on the State’s agenda.

«This topic has a lot to do with eating habits, that is why the importance of nutritional education, what types of elements we consume, is not only about access to food, but about diversifying our diet».

What do people prefer to eat? A simple glance clears the doubts of the danger that ultra-processed foods represent as the engine of the global epidemic of obesity. Sufficient indicators of this are found in Cuba, if we take into account that according to the results of the III National Survey of Risk Factors carried out in 2010, more than 40.4% of the Cuban population aged 15 and over does not perform sufficient physical activity and obesity in its overall form which includes overweight, represents 43.8%, with unhealthy eating habits among its conditioning factors.

SUGARS IN THE DIET: BAD COMPANIES

The high consumption of sugars is associated with various pathologies such as overweight, obesity, liver disorders, behavioral disorders, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease, various types of cancer and dental caries, among other diseases.

The WHO says that the intake of free sugars, including those contained in products such as sugar-sweetened beverages, is currently one of the main factors that is leading to an increase in obesity and diabetes in the world.

In this sense, it is worth clarifying that the main sources of added sugars -the ones that manufacturers add to food or beverages during their processing or preparation, include soft drinks, cakes, cookies, sugary fruit juices, dairy desserts and chocolates, among other products.

“The WHO recommends adults and children to reduce the consumption of free sugars to less than 10% of the total caloric intake, although to obtain greater benefits it is ideally recommended to reduce their consumption to less than 5% of the total caloric intake, which it would provide additional health benefits, “the bulletin adds.

Likewise, he emphasizes, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) urges to adopt measures such as restricting the commercialization of ultra-processed foods and beverages to children, increasing the costs of these foods through taxes, increasing the production and accessibility of healthy fresh foods, as well as the formulation of new guidelines for school and preschool food programs.

“Within the habits and dietary attitudes of the Cuban is the excessive consumption of food, where they are as integrants refined sugars, often in combination with fat,” says the text.

According to studies conducted, among the most important risk factors for the presence of diabetes are sedentary lifestyle and obesity. The III National Survey of Risk Factors of 2010 determined that in the country there was a prevalence of 6.1% of known diabetics, while according to the dispensarization of 2015, 5.7% of the population suffers from diabetes, which indicates that there is still an under reporting of the disease and there is a group of people who do not know they are diabetic.

Likewise, official health statistics indicate that more than 25% of the population over 14 years of age is known to have hypertension, and it can be seen that after 50 years, almost 50% may suffer from hypertension.

The common factor of all these diseases: diet. Taking care to prevent from the earliest ages, encouraging healthy lifestyles and the practice of physical exercise, as well as public policies that make these elements viable, is the most effective way to deal with this growing epidemic.

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