We’ve All Got to Work Together on Global Health Challenges

USCIB is pleased to launch this Health and Nutrition Blog, which will include our priorities, activities, and updates related to global nutrition and health policy in major United Nations, World Health Organization, and OECD processes. We look forward working with our members and all stakeholders as they address global health challenges as we aspire to to a healthier 2016 for all! 

By Helen Medina

nutrition_globeAs in years past, January 1st is the time that many Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Often those are associated with a pledge to live a healthier lifestyle. One can experience the result of this undertaking in overcrowded  gyms, jam-packed yoga classes and in the media with advice on how to keep those resolutions. Health and wellness is top-of-mind for many of us, and especially with policymakers. While each of us may be experiencing different challenges to achieve our own optimum well-being, there is no dispute that health is important for all.

Many countries lose approximately two to three percent of their GDP due to under-nutrition, and worldwide, non-communicable diseases account for 60 percent (35 million) of global deaths.

In fact, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals reflect the importance of nutrition and health, with targets listed at the top as goals 2 and 3 respectively. Goal 2 aims to address the challenges the world faces as the population continues to grow. More effort and innovation are needed to increase agricultural production, improve the global supply chain, decrease food losses and waste and ensure that all who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition have access to nutritious food. Goals 3 is “ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.” The associated targets aim to reduce the rate of global maternal mortality, end preventable deaths of newborns, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases and end certain epidemics.

The Access to Nutrition Index indicates that 805 million people globally suffer from hunger and more than two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. The economic costs of under-nutrition are high, as many countries lose approximately two to three percent of their GDP due to under-nutrition. In Africa and Asia, the cost can be as high as 11 percent of GDP.

According to the World Health Organization, non-communicable diseases (NCD) make the largest contribution to mortality both globally and in the majority of low- and middle-income countries . Worldwide, NCDs account for 60 percent (35 million) of global deaths. The largest burden – 80 percent (28 million) – occurs in low- to middle-income countries, making NCDs a major cause of poverty and an urgent development issue. They will be the leading global cause of disability by 2030.

USCIB understands the scale and complexity of these global challenges. Together with our members, we are actively following and participating in international discussions on nutrition because we believe that no one organization, industry or government can make a material difference completely on its own. Instead, we must bring forward and catalyze partnerships that connect across business, government and civil society. Working together is key to addressing today’s health challenges. As innovators, goods and service providers and employers, companies are only as strong as the communities that they work in and serve, and they are committed to offering solutions and actions.

Staff Contact:   Michael Michener

VP, Product Policy and Innovation
Tel: 202.617.3159

Michael Michener is USCIB’s vice president of product policy and innovation, joining USCIB in early 2017. Michener is a former administrator of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service who has also served as a U.S. trade diplomat and association executive. Michener most recently served in Brussels as director of multilateral relations for CropLife International, representing the association before a range of international organizations – including the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the UN Environment Program and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – on issues related to crop protection products and agriculture biotechnology.
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