2016 Food policy

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, par. 6, par. 8 and par. 9 (2016)

Text of the recommendation

6. Malnutrition includes undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency and conditions associated with excess intake and nutritional imbalance. Undernutrition is a consequence of consuming too few essential nutrients, caused by either insufficient food intake or repeated infectious diseases. The most basic kind of undernutrition is protein energy malnutrition, which in its acute form leads to wasting. Identifying wasting in children is crucial because the condition is reversible, if appropriately addressed. In its chronic form, it is caused by sustained poor dietary intake or repeated infections during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and can lead to stunting. Stunting is irreversible and leads to shortness in stature, immediate and long-term morbidity and mortality and problems with cognitive functioning. (...)

8. “Unbalanced nutrition” occurs when the body is exposed to too much dietary energy and leads to overweight and obesity. It may result from eating too much or too many of the wrong things, as well as insufficient exercise, and can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and diet-related cancers.

9. Traditionally, undernutrition and “hidden hunger” were considered specific to the developing world, while obesity was commonly perceived to mostly affect developed countries. It is now recognized that different forms of malnutrition coexist within most countries. Obesity rates are increasing in developing nations that are exposed to globalization while undergoing economic transition and urban migration. This is part of the global “nutrition transition”, which is seeing a rise in consumption of energy-dense yet nutrient-poor foods, coupled with more sedentarY lifestyles. As a consequence, many countries are now confronted with not only undernutrition but also rising rates of obesity


Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Interim Report on the right to food, A/71/282, (2016). Par. 6,8,9. Available at: https://undocs.org/A/71/282