World Food Programme: Responding to the Challenge of Non-communicable Diseases (September 2019)

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1. The nutrition and food security sectors are central to an effective response to NCDs

WFP is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations (UN), delivering food assistance in developing and emergency contexts, and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.

Unhealthy diets are a leading risk factor for NCDs. Diet-related NCDs include cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The right to food must not be reduced to “the right to not starve.” Ensuring access to diverse,safe and nutritiousfoods can prevent NCDs and their impacts on sustainable development.

The triple burden of malnutrition— undernutrition and hunger, overweight and obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies - remains unacceptable. Children under five face large and multiple burdens: 149 million are stunted, 49.5 million are affected by wasting, and 40.1 million are overweight.

The world is now experiencing record levels of overweight and obesity among adults (38.9%), with trends increasing, particularly among adolescents.

Supporting good nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life and adopting healthy dietary habits during adolescence can reduce the risk of NCDs later in life. Supporting prematernal and gestational nutrition can reduce NCD risks for both mother and child.