Poor diets threaten health more than malaria, tuberculosis and measles

With one-in-five deaths associated with poor-quality diets, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has issued a co-authored report urging policymakers to reduce food loss and waste to improve access to nutritious and healthy food.

The report, entitled “Preventing nutrient loss and waste across the food system: Policy actions for high-quality diets”, concludes that regularly eating poor-quality food has become a greater public health threat than malaria, tuberculosis or measles.

The reports highlights that approximately one-third of food produced for human consumption never reaches consumers and nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats are highly perishable, rendering them susceptible to losses throughout increasingly complex food production systems.

Reporting from the United Nations, Natalie Hutchison says that each year more than half of all globally-produced fruits and vegetables are lost or wasted. Moreover, around 25 per cent of all meat produced, equivalent to 75 million cows, goes uneaten.

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