A new global assessment found that 48 percent of the population currently eats either too little or too much, resulting in harmful impacts for people and planet.
Nearly half the world's population suffers from poor nutrition linked to too much or not enough food, with wide-ranging impacts on health and the planet.
A global report published on Tuesday found that 48 percent of people currently eat either too little or too much, resulting in them being overweight, obese or underweight.
The report was conducted by The Global Nutrition Report (GNR), a yearly survey and analysis of the latest data on nutrition and related health issues.
It found that at current rates, the world will fail to meet eight out of nine nutrition targets set by the World Health Organization for 2025. This year's GNR is the first to look at global diets and how food choices are affecting people and the planet.
🚨🚨Alarming stats from the 2021 @GNReport 👉 number of avoidable deaths due to poor diets are up by 15% since 2010. 👉 Poor diets are now responsible for 12 million deaths annually. ➡️https://t.co/2I2G7IQxKD #NutritionCantWait #Nutrition4All #ActOnNCDs pic.twitter.com/kqMwVWMS4H— NCD Alliance (@ncdalliance) November 23, 2021
'Avoidable deaths' grow
The report found people are failing to consume enough health-promoting foods like fruits and vegetables, particularly in lower-income countries.
Higher-income countries had the highest intake of foods with harmful health impacts like red meat, dairy and sugary drinks.
The report estimated nearly 150 million children under five years old are stunted (too short for their age), more than 45 million are wasted (too thin for their height) and nearly 40 million are overweight.
It also finds more than 40 percent of adults (2.2 billion people) are now overweight or obese.
"Avoidable deaths due to poor diets have grown by 15 percent since 2010 and poor diets are now responsible for a quarter of all adult deaths," Chair of the GNR's Independent Expert Group Renata Micha told AFP.
Impact on planet
Consumption of harmful foods is on the rise, the report found, with red and processed meat already at almost five times the maximum recommendation of one serving a week.
In line with other estimates, the GNR calculated global food demand generated some 35 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.
"Animal-source foods have generally higher environmental footprints per product than plant-based foods," the report said.
"Consequently, they were responsible for the majority of food-related greenhouse gas emissions and land use, with particularly large impacts from beef, lamb and dairy."
The GNR estimates the nutrition spending will need to increase by nearly $4 billion annually until 2030 to meet stunting, wasting, maternal anaemia and breastfeeding targets alone.