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Mar 4

Latin America, Caribbean have highest costs for nutritious diets-FAO – St Vincent Times

Global indicators on the costs of healthy diets and how many people cant afford them

Today, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released country-by-country indicators about healthy diets that show how much they cost, how many people cant afford them, and what food groups they include. The data show that even though the world has made progress in providing enough calories to feed everyone, there is still a long way to go before everyone can be fed in a sustainable way.

FAO recently did a thorough study of how many people can actually afford a healthy diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods and is in line with dietary recommendations.

The result was a wake-up call: Billions of people around the world cant afford to eat well.

Now, the indicators made by FAO with help from researchers at Tufts University and the World Bank show, for example, that a healthy diet will cost $3.89 per person per day in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020. This is the most expensive region, followed by Asia ($3.72), Africa ($3.46), Northern America and Europe ($3.19), and Oceania ($3.07).

The cost of a healthy diet went up the most (4%) in Asia between 2019 and 2020. This was followed by Oceania (3.6%), Latin America and the Caribbean (3.4%), North America and Europe (3.2%), and Africa (4%). (2.5 percent).

Nearly 3.1 billion people wont be able to afford a healthy diet in 2020, which is 112 million more than in 2019. This is because a healthy diet will cost more in 2020. This was mostly because 78 million more people in Asia couldnt afford this diet. This was followed by 25 million more people in Africa and, to a lesser extent, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, and Europe (8 and 1 million more people, respectively).

In 12 countries, all of which are in Africa, more than 90% of the people cant afford to eat healthy food every day.

More than half of the people in 53 countries for which data are available feel the same way. This number is less than 1% in 26 countries.

Open to everyone

On FAOs easy-to-use data hub, the set of indicators is now available for anyone to look at and download. FAOSTAT is the largest data platform for food and agriculture in the world. It has more than 245 countries and territories and more than 20,000 indicators.

FAO now has a system in place to calculate, track, and report on the cost and affordability of a healthy diet (CoAHD) at the global, regional, and country levels. This system will be kept up to date regularly. This is a powerful new way to measure how far the world has come in making healthy food affordable for everyone.

These indicators are based on an integrated set of data, which is calculated based on factors like the retail prices of locally available foods and food-based dietary guidelines, the ways in which countries distribute household income, and the formulas needed to figure out purchasing power parities.

David Laborde, Director of FAOs Agrifood Economics Division, said, Ending hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition in all its forms (including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight, and obesity) is about more than making sure people have enough food to live. What people eat must also be healthy. Yet, the high cost of healthy foods and the fact that a healthy diet is out of reach for a lot of people around the world is a major problem.

FAOs Director of Food and Nutrition, Lynnette Neufeld, said, Tracking the cost and affordability of healthy diets is a step toward recognizing the need to nourish and not just feed the world. This new method also gives us a place to start gathering locally relevant evidence to help shape policies and programs that make healthy diets affordable for everyone, always.

This FAO CoAHD project is part of a larger set of activities that will help achieve one of FAOs four goals in its 20222031 Strategic Framework: better nutrition.

It is of the utmost importance and a pressing need to measure and keep track of the cost and affordability of healthy diets in a systematic way, and to make progress toward making sure healthy diets are affordable. FAO has stepped up and agreed to do this, said Jos Rosero Moncayo, who is in charge of the Statistics Division at FAO.

How things work

FAO figures out eight cost and affordability indicators.

Dietary guidelines based on food groups say that a healthy diet has enough calories and the right kinds of nutrient-rich foods from different food groups. A representative adult eating 2,330 kilocalories per day was used to figure out the reference diet. This is a method that is often used for food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs). The reference healthy diet is made up of the least expensive locally available foods from the six food groups (staples, vegetables, fruits, foods from animals, legumes, nuts and seeds, and oils and fats) in the recommended portion sizes.

The World Banks International Comparison Program (ICP) and national consumer food price indices are used to get the prices of these foods at the consumer level. For international comparisons, prices are changed into international dollars using purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates and national income distributions. The affordability threshold is set at 52% of the average cost of living for a household.

Future prospects

Now that these indicators are available on a global, regional, and country level, it will be easier to hold people accountable by using up-to-date information on the retail prices of healthy food items in all countries of the world. In the future, work will make it faster to update price data.

This project is a part of FAOs larger goal to gather evidence to help countries make decisions about their food and nutrition policies. FAO encourages its Members and all other interested parties to use these indicators and report on them at the subnational level. This will help make policies and programs that have a bigger impact on the ground. FAO and the Pakistani government are already working on this kind of plan.

In July 2023, the next report on the worlds food security and nutrition will be released.

Editorial Staff

Our Editorial Staff at St. Vincent Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 300,000 regular monthly readers in over 110 other countries worldwide.

Latin America, Caribbean have highest costs for nutritious diets-FAO - St Vincent Times

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