World Food Day: leaving no one behind

Despite having enough food to supply everyone in the world, eradicating hunger goes beyond that: food security must be guaranteed.

Last update: 16 October, 2022

World Food Day is celebrated every year on October 16. The chosen date represents the anniversary day of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, founded in 1945.

Every year, World Food Day takes on a different theme and varies its approach a bit. However, the celebration of this day has as its main objective promote healthy eating, food security and take steps to eradicate famine by 2030.

The concept of food security implies that all people in the world have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to satisfy their dietary needs and preferences, in order to lead an active and healthy life.

World Food Day in 2022

Access to a healthy and balanced diet is a right of every human being.

For this year, the selected theme is “Safe food, better health”. The main focus is to promote the adoption of a balanced and healthy diet in all households. This requires access to safe food (not harmful) for people, the environment and animals.

World Food Day should be commemorated by all those who participate in and benefit from the food chain process, from farmers and ranchers to distributors, supermarket workers, middlemen and cooks.

Everyone in the world, both at work and at home, has an important role in promoting healthy eating.

Food should be for everyone

Healthy eating is a right of every human being and, furthermore, it is the basis for proper physical and mental development in children. Eating a balanced and age-appropriate diet is essential for the entire process of human development. This is because hunger has multiple deleterious effects on the body.

Ensuring the proper nutrition of children is a duty of adults, and food education must start at home from an early age. In addition to children, older adults are also prone to disorders associated with malnutrition.

How can you support the World Food Day initiative?

There are many ways to support World Food Day, including:

  • Encourage participation in programs to eradicate hunger in the most vulnerable populations.
  • Learn to eat mindfully (take care of food and avoid waste).
  • Promote a healthy, balanced and varied diet at home, with the presence of proteins and vegetables.
  • Avoid ultra-processed foods.
  • Buy fresh, local produce that is sold at farmers’ markets.
  • Volunteering in soup kitchens of non-profit or community organizations.
  • Teach children at home the correct handling and proper storage of different foods.
  • Inculcate food education in schools.
  • Contribute, as far as possible, with donations to areas vulnerable to famine.
  • Thank each one of those who participate in the process, from the production of food until it reaches the tables of homes.

Millions of people suffer from hunger

Reducing waste is the first step in fighting world hunger.

According to the United Nations, 820 million people suffer from hunger and around 155 million children are malnourished. Most of the hungry population lives in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Statistically, 3.1 million children die each year from malnutrition and every 5 seconds one dies from a disorder associated with hunger.

Although the opposite is believed, there is enough food in the world for everyone

There is currently enough food produced in the world to feed everyone. Nevertheless, Around 20% of production is wasted each year. For this reason, beyond remembering the importance of food and its preservation, World Food Day has the objective of eradicating hunger. Reducing food waste is the first big step.

Hunger mainly affects children

When there is sustained food deprivation, there is a slowing or arrest of growth in children, as well as physical weakness. On the other hand, there is also cognitive and mental impairment, making it more difficult for them to concentrate and assimilate knowledge at school, and there is a loss of motivation. Likewise, mothers who are in a situation of hunger will have babies that are thinner and more prone to different diseases.

The pandemic reversed progress

The COVID-19 pandemic affected famine worldwide because it arrived in a chaotic and abrupt way. It caused a decrease in the availability and production of food, as well as greater unemployment and a decrease in income.

In this way, the population not only found it more difficult to have food available, but also the prices increased when they returned to the shelves, making the acquisition more difficult due to the decrease in economic income.

Celebrating this day helps everyone in the world

Celebrating World Food Day not only helps to draw attention to the problem, seeking to improve food security and the availability and distribution of food, but it is also a constant reminder that hunger can be eradicated.

In addition to promoting adequate nutrition, the world also benefits from promoting social protection programs that promote food security and from introducing environmentally conscious agricultural practices.

On the other hand, hunger is not the only problem associated with the food system. There are others, such as obesity, environmental degradation (which affects agriculture and livestock) and climate change, which are sometimes ignored.

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