The spread of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the globe. Today, in addition to the unfathomable loss of life from the virus, the world is now confronted with increasing rates of poverty and hunger.
Global poverty is projected to increase for the first time since 1988, reversing decades of progress, and a recent study forecasts that the COVID-19 pandemic could push 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of this year. Children have been significantly affected. The impact on child hunger and malnutrition has been exacerbated by the closure of schools, depriving so many children of their regular access to nutritious food.
Poverty also amplifies the risks of malnutrition and it’s expected that malnutrition in all forms will rise among the most vulnerable households as the pandemic continues to unfold.
Every country in the world is affected by one or more forms of malnutrition, including wasting, stunting, vitamin and mineral deficiency, obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases, like diabetes and heart disease — health issues that are high-risk factors for complications from COVID-19. Many countries are also faced with the double burden of malnutrition, which is characterized by the coexistence of undernutrition, along with obesity or other forms of malnutrition.
That’s why Global Citizen partner WW International, Inc. has teamed up with private and non-profit sector leaders, as well as experts and new voices in business, science, and other fields, to launch the Healthy Living Coalition.
The Healthy Living Coalition will focus on driving progress in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on Global Goal 2 — which aims to eliminate hunger — by tackling nutrition gaps, improving food systems, and combating food insecurity. The coalition’s founding partners that have already signed on include Beyond Meat, the Vitamin Shoppe, Oak View Group, Panera, Pret a Manger, Lineage Logistics, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Bright Health, Hint Water, and WWE.
“At WW, we believe that healthy living is a human right and that everyone deserves access to basic nutrition,” Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW, said. “Our global promise is to help those in need and continue our commitment to democratize wellness, but we recognize that we can’t do it alone. As a company built on the power of community, we have the responsibility to work together to break down barriers of access and become a pipeline for solutions to collectively impact the health trajectory of the world.”
WW believes it is not enough to just provide access to food — it’s imperative to provide access to nutritiousfood that supports healthy development. Research shows that lack of sufficient nutrition directly correlates to deficiencies in physical growth and strength, as well as cognitive abilities, and can impact employment opportunities and overall productivity. It can also contribute to severe and chronic medical conditions, which again put people at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.
WW’s focus with the Healthy Living Coalition is two-fold: making good food available to all by investing in solutions that improve access to affordable nutrition and partnering with organizations on the front lines to help create new infrastructure to support underserved communities.
But equally important to the coalition’s mission, WW said, is making nutritious food a priorityfor allby providing nutrition education and resources for healthy living to people in need, and partnering with companies that drive systemic change.
You can read more about the Healthy Living Coalition here.