Diets all over the world are lacking vitamins and minerals essential for healthy growth, Australia’s peak scientific body found.
An analysis of global diets, released by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) on Monday, revealed that the worldwide intake of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E and folate is likely to remain inadequate through to 2050.
In poorer countries, the study projected that the intake of zinc, iron, vitamin K and vitamin A would remain inadequate.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), micronutrient deficiencies can impair intellectual development, stunt growth and weaken the immune system.
WHO estimates that more than 2 billion people around the world suffer from micronutrient deficiency.
“Global food security is not just about providing adequate calories,” CSIRO study author Jessica Bogard said in a media release on Monday.
“A person can consume too many calories but still be malnourished.”
The study did find that nearly every country in the world is achieving adequate carbohydrate and protein intake.
Researchers used current diets to create a trajectory of what the average human diet would look like from now through to 2050.
They found that the biggest factors affecting food and nutrition security in the near future would be climate change.
“A change in the climate combined with a change in people’s diets, as they begin to earn more, will ultimately impact on our agricultural systems and what gets grown where,” Bogard said.
“Improving farm productivity and economic growth alone is not going to be enough to achieve nutritional security now and into the future. We must refocus our efforts on dietary quality rather than quantity.”