2019 World Food Day: Start Thinking about What We Eat

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  • Farmer in Pasuruan shows long beans harvest as a symbol for nutrition. FAO

    Farmer in Pasuruan shows long beans harvest as a symbol for nutrition. FAO

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The World Food Day (WFD), which annually falls on October 16, highlights the need to step up efforts to end hunger and other forms of malnutrition and for the need to ensure food security and healthy diets for all. This year, World Food Day theme is “Our actions are our future. Healthy diets. For a #zerohunger world.”

    World Food Day is one of the biggest days in the UN calendar. Events held in around 150 countries bring together governments, businesses, NGOs, media agencies, civil society organizations, and the general public, to focus on the call for action to achieve SDG2 on Zero Hunger.

    “Achieving Zero Hunger is not only about addressing hunger but also nourishing people while nurturing the planet. This year, WFD calls for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to everyone. At the same time, it calls on everyone to start thinking about what we eat”, said Stephen Rudgard, the FAO Representative in Indonesia.

    In recent decades, we have dramatically changed our diets and eating habits as a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth. We have moved from seasonal, mainly plant-based and fiber-rich dishes to diets that are high in refined starches, sugar, fats, salt, processed foods, meat and other animal-sourced products. Less time is spent preparing meals at home, and consumers, especially in urban areas, increasingly rely on fast food outlets, street food vendors, take-away restaurants and supermarkets.

    Alongside over 800 million people suffering from hunger, a combination of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles has sent obesity rates soaring, not only in developed countries. Now over 670 million adults and 120 million girls and boys (5–19 years) are obese, and over 40 million children under five are overweight.

    Official Poster for 2019 World Food Day. FAO

    “The World Food Day 2019 call for action aims to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to everyone. For this, partnerships are fundamental. Consumers, farmers, governments, and private sector, all have a role to play”, said Rudgard.

    In Indonesia, 30.8 % of children are stunted, 10.2 % of children under five years old are wasted, and at the same time, 8 % are obese.

    “The Ministry of Agriculture is drawing special attention to this matter with a program to encourage the fulfillment of national food needs at the household level, which is called the “Sustainable Food Torch” (Obor Pangan Lestari or OPAL), said Kuntoro Boga, Head of the Public Relations and Public Information Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture.

    This program highlights one way to overcome the challenge of stunting in Indonesia. Opal is also designed to improve the quality of community consumption, increase household income, increase family access to food, conserve local genetic resources and reduce carbon footprint and air pollutant gas emissions.

    What is a Healthy Diet?

    A healthy diet is one that meets the nutritional needs of individuals by providing sufficient, safe, nutritious and diverse foods to lead an active life and reduce the risk of disease. It includes, among others, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains, and foods that are low in fats (especially saturated fats), sugar and salt.

    Nutritious foods that constitute a healthy diet are not available or affordable for many people. Providing healthy diets and safeguarding the environment. Obesity and other forms of malnutrition affect over one in three people in Indonesia. The good news is that affordable solutions exist to reduce all forms of malnutrition, but they require greater global commitment and action.

    “The OPAL program presents a long-term framework for increasing the supply of diverse, balanced and safe family food sources (B2SA), " Boga added.

    OPAL was designed as one of the Government’s concrete steps in improving the food security and vulnerability atlas (SFVA) map.