The recently published ‘Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission report,’ mentions the total opposites malnutrition and obesity and also a seemingly independent third factor, climate change,’ as ‘tri-demic’ or ‘syndemic’. It says that they are factors which are triggered by common problems and require common solution.
It further mentions that higher prices for basic food commodities, especially fruit and vegetables, will potentially result in increasing consumption of processed foods, a cause of obesity.
The report says that climate change is likely to reduce protein and micronutrient content in many crops. The report mentions how ultra-processed food products made with cheap ingredients such as sugars, flours and oils are energy-dense and nutrient-poor and cause both undernutrition and obesity by displacing whole foods.
There are some factors which show how India too is suffering from Global Syndemic.
According to National Family Health Survey Data, In India, 38% children under five years old are stunted (too short for their age); 21% are wasted (too thin for their height); 36% are underweight, and 58% are anaemic.
Pratik Sane, an environmentalist from Pune, said, “The growth oriented model of economy is not focussing on sustainability, health and environment. As the ecology is already witnessing collapse, the human race is also bound to suffer. Diabetes rates are increasing in the country. More obesity is seen in lower income categories too. Sustainable agriculture, efficient use of land, cut in greenhouse gas emission along with healthy lifestyle habits can be the solution.”
According to a recent World Bank report, 148 million Indians will be living in severe climate change hotspots by 2050, and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has acknowledged that there is a perceptible rise in extreme weather events in recent decades and documented a gradual, significant rise in the annual mean temperature from 2000 onward.