Regional overview of food insecurity: Europe and Central Asia
This report (PDF) from FAO analyzes a wealth of country data on dietary energy supply, undernourishment indicators and consumption patterns in Europe and Central Asia. The report points to a pattern whereby countries progress from dealing predominantly with undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, to coping with degenerative diseases associated with increased dietary fat, sugar, meat and dairy, and processed foods, linked to over-nutrition. Today, 13 percent of the population of the region lives in countries suffering from a “triple burden” of all three nutrition problems (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overnutrition). The report also explores several promising policies solutions for addressing food insecurity, tailored to the income and nutrition profile of each country. These are policies that have been tried and proven effective. Food fortification is offered as a policy option for countries in the undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies grouping. Fortification of milk with vitamin D, salt with iodine, wheat flour with iron are examples that have been critical drivers of improvements in micronutrient consumption in children in Central Asia. Other policy recommendations include: reformulating popular convenience foods to improve their nutritional value; taxes and subsidies designed to change the relative prices of foods depending on their healthfulness; nutrition education to inform people; more effective food safety systems, and standardization of food safety, sanitary, phytosanitary and hygiene regulations; better nutritional labeling of food products; and food assistance programs including vouchers and food subsidy programs, food transfer and cash transfer programs.