World’s diet worsening with globalization, major study finds: TRFN

admin   •   February 24, 2015   •   2190

Food is seen on a table at a restaurant at the port of El Masnou, near Barcelona May 16, 2008.
CREDIT: REUTERS/ALBERT GEA

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The world’s diet has deteriorated substantially in the last two decades, a leading nutrition expert said on Monday, citing one of the largest studies available on international eating habits.

Poor countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are seeing the fastest increases in unhealthy food consumption, while the situation has improved slightly in Western Europe and North America, said Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Between 1990 and 2010, middle and low income countries saw consumption of unhealthy foods increase dramatically, Mozaffarian said, citing information in a study he co-authored for the March edition of The Lancet Global Health journal.

The “globalization” of western diets – where a small group of food and agriculture companies have disproportionate power to decide what is produced – is partially causing the shift to unhealthy eating, Mozaffarian said.

Processed foods high in sugar, fat and starch are driving the growth of unhealthy foods.

The study reviewed 325 dietary surveys, representing almost 90 percent of the world’s population, in what is thought to be the largest study yet of international eating habits.

China and India recorded some of the highest increases in unhealthy food consumption, the study said. Some countries in Latin America and Europe saw an increase in both healthy and unhealthy food consumption.

Between 1990 and 2014, roughly the same period as the study, the number of hungry people worldwide dropped by 209 million to 805 million, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

“Most global nutrition efforts have focused on calories – getting starchy staples to people,” Mozaffarian told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We need to focus on the quality of calories for poor countries, not just the quantity.”

Old people displayed better eating habits than the young in most of the 187 countries covered in the study.

This is a worrying development, Mozaffarian said, as rates of obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes are set to increase if young people continue eating unhealthy foods.

“Young people are growing up with much worse diets than their parents or grandparents,” he said.

(Reporting By Chris Arsenault; Editing by Ros Russell)

British TV presenter Flack died by hanging — inquest hears

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Caroline Flack

British television presenter Caroline Flack was found hanged in her London flat on Saturday (February 15) and paramedics were unable to revive her, an inquest into her death heard.

The suicide of the 40-year-old former presenter of the hugely popular “Love Island” dating show has reignited a debate in Britain about the conduct of the tabloid press and social media trolls.

Coroner’s Officer Sandra Polson told the court that police had been flagged down on the street by an unidentified person who had led them to a residential address. There, a woman was found lying on her back.

An ambulance arrived and paramedics attempted CPR but were unable to revive her. She was pronounced dead at 1436 GMT on Saturday.

An autopsy determined that the cause of death was suspension by ligature. The coroner adjourned the rest of the inquest until Aug. 5. (Reuters)

(Production: Marissa Davison)

Global warming causing ‘irreversible’ mass melting in Antarctica says scientist

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Global warming was leading to an “irreversible” mass melting of the Antarctic ice and purging carbon from the atmosphere was the only solution to slow the process, an Australian climate scientist told Reuters on Wednesday (February 19).

Recent human activity has intensified global warming, which could result in a mass melting of Antarctica, said Zoe Thomas, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales who was part of an international team of scientists that recently published a paper on Antarctic ice melting.

The study showed the world could lose most of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which rests on the seabed and is fringed by floating ice, in a warmer world.

“What we’re seeing with the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is that this starting of the melt, once we reach a certain threshold, will continue despite our efforts to stop it,” she told Reuters.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica of 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.94 degrees Fahrenheit) was taken at a research base there on Feb. 6. If hotter temperatures were to sustain they could cause an extreme global sea level rise.

“This will gradually displace people as it goes,” Thomas said. “We know this is already happening in small island communities and this will just continue to happen gradually as more and more houses are being inundated at high tide, then at normal tide and then even at low tide.”

Thomas said that the only thing that would slow down the ice melting was if economies across the world began de-carbonising themselves.

Many advanced economies have pledged to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 though Australia is largely seen as dragging its feet on the issue despite recently suffering one of its worst bushfire seasons ever. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

Libya talks suspended after rebels attack Tripoli port

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Libya’s internationally recognized government on Tuesday (February 18) suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over the capital after eastern forces shelled Tripoli’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.

Footage from Tripoli’s port showed black smoke rising near docked ships from the area believed to have been hit by shelling.

The U.N. has been hosting in Geneva ceasefire talks between officers from the Tripoli government and the eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

The two factions have been trying to take the capital in a near year-long campaign, displacing at least 150,000 people.

The LNA on Tuesday shelled Tripoli port, saying first it had attacked a Turkish vessel bringing weapons but saying later it had hit an arms depot. Three civilians were killed and five wounded, the Tripoli forces said.

In response to the LNA attack, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said in a statement it suspended its participation in ceasefire talks “until firm responses are taken against the attacker, and we will respond firmly to the attack in appropriate timing.” (Reuters)

(Production: Ahmed Elumami, Seham Eloraby and Fintan McDonnell).

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