Oct 14, 2015

The double burden of malnutrition and the road to “lagom”

While the determination to eliminate hunger is fundamental for security, an opposite type of malnutrition has exploded. In a new policy brief, we outline strategies to ease the double burden of malnutrition in a turbulent water future.

In recent decades, increases in food supply have outpaced population increase. While undernourishment has declined, overweight, obesity and micro-nutrient deficiencies now affect two-three times more people. Well over two billion people, in rich as well as in poor countries, are overweight or obese. Together with losses and waste of food, significant imbalances characterize food systems.

With game-changing circumstances, like global warming, water crises, and concerns for human health and well-being, more of the same is not an appropriate approach. How can food best be produced, distributed and accessed in an era of growing needs and demands, and pending water crises?

A sound vision is needed for food and nutrition security. Consumers need to be involved in effective alliances to care for and share finite water resources.

In a new policy brief, SIWI suggests ways out of the double burden of malnutrition.

“We must carefully analyze water contexts for food production and how we best can provide food for a growing world population and more healthy diets. Within a generation, nine billion people will need and want food and water. Under these circumstances we can ill afford to waste food, or water,” says Torgny Holmgren, SIWI’s Executive Director.  

The brief builds on a recent report from the Swedish FAO Committee authored by SIWI staff, Water, food security and human dignity – a nutrition perspective.