On the occasion of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), 190 states have undertaken in a 60-point catalogue to implement measures particularly aimed at undernourishment of children and micronutrient deficiency including associated consequential damages as well as at the reduction of diet-related risk factors for contracting non communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and certain cancer types.
The development of foodstuff systems, i.e. of ways to produce, process, distribute, market and prepare food for consumption is deemed to be key to the promotion of a varied and healthy diet.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the International Alliance against Non-communicable Diseases (NCD Alliance) complemented the catalogue of the Conference on Nutrition by adding a position paper which includes six statements explaining the connection between food, dietary habits and the risks for non-communicable diseases:
- Foodstuffs, their nutrient density and local dietary habits do not just contain risks for non-communicable diseases, but they can also cause such risks.
- The extent of nutrition-related diseases is considerable. Thus, 34.5 million deaths of a worldwide total number of 52.8 million deaths in 2010 can directly be put down to the influence of the poor nutritional quality of food on non-communicable diseases (including cardiovascular diseases, some cancer types and chronic respiratory diseases). More than 80 % of such deaths occurred in poorer countries. 29% of the deceased individuals were under the age of 60 years.
- The global population is increasingly exposed to risks of contracting nutrition-related diseases. Among the reasons count the increasing consumption of ready-made meals, the declining consumption of food which is rich in dietary fibres and in the increasing share of calories obtained from meat, sugar and oils in the nutrient intake.
- A rising number of undernourished people bears the decisive danger of increases in the occurrence of diseases.
- Food systems (see above) represent the primary challenge for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and of undernourishment.
FAO and WHO. Second International Conference on Nutrition. Rome, 19 – 21 November 2014. Conference Outcome Document: Rome Declaration on Nutrition. http://www.fao.org/3/a-ml542e.pdf and
World Cancer Research Fund International and the NCD-Alliance. http://ncdalliance.org/sites/default/files/rfiles/WCRFI_NCD_Alliance_Nutrition_ed2.pdf