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Right to food

Oct 18,2018 - Last updated at Oct 18,2018

On the occasion of the World Food Day, which fell on October 16, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) issued a report on the lack of enjoyment of the right to food in the world that contained also a disturbing finding that 13.5 per cent of Jordanians had suffered from" food shortage" between 2015-2017.

The right to food does not mean any food. It must be adequate, healthy, accessible and affordable. Recently, UN human rights bodies have started to call for food that is also free of genetically modified organisms. If countries, including Jordan, observe and apply the updated criteria for adequate food, the percentage of people who do not enjoy the right to food would rise to much higher rates.

The FAO report, though, acknowledges that the high number of Syrian refugees on Jordanian soil undermined the ability of the country to provide adequate food for all. Jordan can barely feed its own underprivileged people and to provide food to some 1.3 million Syrian refugees is obviously beyond its means.

On the other side of the coin, lack of healthy food did not prevent the increasing rate of obesity among adults and even children. The percentage of overweight adults in Jordan had risen from 30.3 per cent in 2012 to 33.4 per cent in 2016. It is not hard to verify this finding as all that one needs to do is to look around in the country in practically all settings to note that obesity is strikingly obvious.

Being overweight as adults and children is taxing on health and contributes to heart diseases, diabetes and other life threatening diseases. Social life in Jordan revolves on banquets that are rich in the wrong kind of foods. The authorities in Jordan, especially the Ministry of Health, should conduct campaigns to raise awareness among the public about what and what not to eat. This could be the right way to celebrate the World Food Day.

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