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Global Nutrition – It’s Important for Everyone
Nutrition is an issue that affects us all. Either because you do not have access to enough food or because the food you have access to is unhealthy. Indeed, a diet too rich in salt, fats and sugars and deficient in vitamins can have as many negative effects as having not enough to eat. The effect is an accretive one. Malnourished mothers frequently have unhealthy babies. Malnourished children frequently have stunted growth, trouble focusing in school and difficulty participating in activities. Malnourished adults frequently have physical and cognitive limitations that prevent them from working and operating at optimum levels, which causes a reduced ability to provide for themselves. Statistics abound, but most countries find that malnutrition costs them approximately 2-3% of their Gross Domestic Product annually. In some countries, the estimate of lost GDP is as high as 11%. In fact, about one half of the infant mortality in the world is due to malnutrition.1 That means that all of us need to sit-up and take a good long look at the problem of nutrition.
So what can you do? First, start making good nutrition a priority in your own life. The first step is always best if it is a personal one and eating healthy fruits, vegetables and legumes is important to any diet. Second, check out some of the organizations below. We are hoping that one of these will touch a chord in you as you look at ways other people are helping the world to find good nutrition.
Urban community farms like Veggielution, Uncommon Good and Common Good City Farm provide education on nutrition and farming practices that people would otherwise never receive. They also produce and provide healthy fruits and veggies to those in need in their communities. Locating and supporting organic farming and programs that provide nutrient rich foods is a smart step for all of us to take.
Other organizations, like Fundación Gloria Kriete and FUSAL in El Salvador, have decided to tackle the problem by helping families increase their earning potential so that they can afford to purchase nutritious food. To that end, they teach business management, train people in sustainable practices and help them learn to strengthen their productive capacity. Their focus is on the health and welfare of the community in which nutrition is just one aspect of poverty.
Heifer International looks at the situation in a similar manner. Their idea is if you give a person a fish they will eat for a day, if you teach them to fish they will eat for a lifetime. So they donate cows, chickens, goats, ducks, seed farms and more to families in need and help provide the education necessary to enable people to establish a sustainable livelihood.
Don’t forget clean drinking water. This is one of the most fundamental requirements for nutrition and is a critical need around the world. Groups like Children’s Hunger Relief Fund and the Norwegian Refugee Council focus on providing clean water in addition to providing education on nutrition.
As you know, many organizations focus on the lack of meals for the homeless by creating food banks or soup kitchens. What you might not know, however, is that an increasing number of these groups are looking to deliver nutritious meals; not just food, but food that sustains good health. Groups like Feeding America and the European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) work tirelessly towards this goal.
In addition to all this wonderful work there is a movement called Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) that is working with 54 countries around the world to see that policy makers, organizations and individuals all understand the importance of nutrition and are prioritizing efforts to provide nutritious food for all.
Take a moment and help out one of these organizations or take some time and research one of the many other worthy charities that seek to end the problem of malnutrition. Each organization is doing something amazing, and each of us can do something with them to contribute to solving the world’s need for healthy food.
Check out these and many other charities at WorkerAnts.com.
1 For these statistics and more on malnutrition check out the following sites: http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats, http://www.gainhealth.org/about-malnutrition/fastfacts and https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/Food_for_Thought_UK.pdf