Is city living killing you? – Whether it's too much junk food or a lack of nutritious foods, malnutrition fueled by poor diet is on the rise according to a new report by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
Changing diets – In Africa, urbanization has fueled an increase in processed food purchases, street foods and food from cheap restaurants -- which may contain high levels of saturated fats, salt and sugar.
Changing diets – "Bad diets are a big problem affecting all countries. We estimate that one in three people has a poor diet," says lead author, Dr Lawrence Haddad, executive director at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
Pictured here, a street food vendor cooks kebabs in downtown Cairo, Egypt.
A double edged sword? – As a country's income goes up, people are in theory able to buy more healthy foods.
Pictured here, pomegranates at a market in Mauritius.
Money not always the solution – But in reality, a boost in income can be a double edged sword when it comes to dietary choices as it does not mean people reach for fresh, nutritious foods.
Money not always a solution – "As income goes up, we can consume and buy more good things, healthier things like fruits, vegetables, fresh fish, stuff like that. But we can and do also buy unhealthy things -- processed meats, sugary drinks, highly processed food," Haddad says.
Pictured here, women prepare a traditional Senegalese dish of rice and fish at a street restaurant in Dakar.
Huge implications – The report warns of huge health implications globally if people don't change their diets. By 2030, the number of overweight and obese people will have grown from 1.3 billion in 2005, to 3.3 billion globally -- about a third of the population, according to estimations in the report.
Pictured here, an Egyptian street vendor sells grilled sweet potatoes at a market in Cairo.
Huge implications – In sub-Saharan Africa, the growth in the rate of obesity among men is larger than that of undernourishment, and in Nigeria and Ethiopia diabetes is on the increase, the report shows.
Pictured here, vendors display tomatoes and pepper at a market in Lagos, Nigeria.
Malnourished children – Many African countries are battling both undernourishment and obesity, according to the report. Children are particularly vulnerable. An estimated 45.4% of deaths among children under five can be linked to poor diet.
Drought in Malawi – An estimated 6.5 million Malawians -- 39% of the population -- face food shortages and nutrition risks due to the ongoing drought.
Pictured here, a family in one of the affected areas prepare their dinner.
Drought in Malawi – Across Africa and Asia, the estimated impact of undernutrition on gross domestic product (GDP) is 11% every year, according to the report -- worse than the annual economic downturn caused by the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2010.
Pictured here, people water seedlings at a food program run by NGO's World Vision International and the UN's World Food Program in September in Zomba, Malawi.
Is change possible? – Whether it's undernourishment or obesity, there are solutions for countries wanting to tackle issues related to poor diets -- looking at where research and development grants go, is but one example, as much of this money typically goes to increasing the yields of rice, maize and wheat, Haddad says.
Pictured here, a woman checks maize crops on a farm in Zimbabwe.
Is change possible? – This makes these crops cheaper and gives farmers a higher income, but while these foods are high in carbohydrates, they can be low in protein and other nutrients. "By not spending any agricultural research and development money on vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, poultry and fish, the prices of these foods are going up," Haddad says.
So while predictions may look dire, Haddad says the future could look brighter, if policymakers take action and people begin to reach for healthier options. "It's not fate or destiny. There are choices."
Pictured here, a Rolex, which is a popular dish in Uganda made from a rolled chapatti containing a fried egg and some vegetables, is wildly popular in Uganda, but little known outside the country.