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Perspective: Danielle Nierenberg on Hunger and Obesity

By WorldLink Staff | August 3, 2012 | Leave a Comment

How can we promote health for the greatest number of people? Danielle Nierenberg, project director of the Nourishing the Planet project for the Worldwatch Institute, discusses the connection between hunger and obesity.

Danielle, an expert on sustainable agriculture, recently spent a year traveling to more than 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia looking at environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger and poverty. She worked for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and also currently serves as the food security advisor for Citizen Effect (an NGO focused on sustainable development projects worldwide).

What is the “Nourishing the Planet” project and what inspired it?

Danielle Nierenberg: Our mission is to evaluate environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger and poverty. We want to highlight things that are working on the ground that have a lot of potential to be replicated and scaled up, but need more attention, more research, and ultimately more funding and investment. The project is the result of my travels to more than 30 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, looking at environmentally sustainable innovations.

What is the state of hunger and obesity in the world today?

Danielle Nierenberg: Worldwide, 1 billion people go to bed hungry, while another 1 billion suffer from health problems related to obesity. There have been several unhealthy changes in dietary and lifestyle patterns worldwide, including an increase in calories consumed, a lack of balance and diversity in diets, a lack of education about health and nutrition early in life, and a significant reduction in the amount of time dedicated to physical activity.

Meanwhile, agriculture directly contributes to food security among the world’s poorest populations, and reforms are needed to reduce poverty and hunger. In addition to those that are hungry, millions more suffer from malnutrition and a lack of a nutritious diet.

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