News in Brief 05 October 2017 (AM)

5 October 2017

Experts, UN agencies meet to fight poor nutrition in obese people

Three UN agencies have come together this week to tackle what they describe as the “double burden” of malnutrition.

UN nuclear energy watchdog, the IAEA; the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are holding a workshop in Vienna to explore how nuclear technology can help address the challenge of poor nutrition combined with obesity or diet-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

It is the first time they are holding such a meeting, which also brings together around 50 researchers and public health professionals from 30 countries.

In addition to discussing the “magnitude” of the problem, they will also look at ways to measure malnutrition and the impact of interventions.

The IAEA explained that there has been an “epidemic growth” of diet-related diseases worldwide, brought on by economic growth, urbanization and changes in diet.

Worldwide, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese, while 462 million are underweight, according to WHO.

Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of poor diet.

UN estimates indicate that 155 million under-fives are too short for their age, 52 million are too thin for their height, while 41 million are overweight.

Food price jump in September: FAO

Stronger prices of vegetables and oils, as well as dairy products, led to an increase in global food prices in September.

That’s according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which on Thursday published the latest edition of its Food Price Index.

It measures the monthly change in international prices for a variety of food commodities, including meat and sugar.

FAO added that global cereal inventories are heading for a new high.

Cereal production this year is forecast to reach a record 2,612 million tonnes; nearly seven million tonnes above the previous record, set last year.

Empowerment the watchword for World Teachers’ Day

A daylong series of seminars on empowering teachers is being held this Thursday at the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

It’s among the events commemorating World Teachers Day, observed annually on 5 October.

The heads of four UN agencies and their counterpart at Education International, a global organization which represents teachers’ unions, have issued a statement pointing out that although teachers are “a critical foundation” of every society, many in the profession lack the freedom and support necessary to do their jobs.

They appealed to governments and the private sector to commit to building a skilled, valued and empowered education workforce—critical to achieving the global development goal of ensuring inclusive, quality education for all.

“This means securing decent working conditions and fair wages for all teachers including at the tertiary level,” they said, adding that teachers also will need training and development.

The number of quality teachers also will need to be increased, particularly in countries with high numbers of untrained educators, while restrictions on research and teaching will have to be removed.

“Finally, it means raising the status of teachers around the world in a way that honors and reflects the impact they have on the strength of society,” they stated.

The UN officials signing off on the statement are the heads of UNESCO, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’46”


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