The UN organization said in a statement issued on Wednesday that almost 870 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished.
“One out of every four children in the world under the age of five is stunted,” the statement read.
“This means 165 million children who are so malnourished they will never reach their full physical and cognitive potential.”
According to the statement, some 1.4 billion people worldwide are also overweight.
Unsustainable models of development have degraded the natural environment and they threaten ecosystems and biodiversity, which are needed for future food supplies, the UN organization said.
The cost to the global economy caused by malnutrition, as a result of lost productivity and direct health care costs, amounts to about 2.6 trillion euros per year or almost 400 euros per person, equivalent to as much as five percent of the global income.
Some 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste every year – around a third of the total food produced, the UN food agency said, adding that “with just a quarter of that, we could feed the over 800 million hungry.”
The agency also stated that 62 out of the 128 countries it has monitored have achieved significant reductions in malnutrition and food waste in recent decades, but progress has been uneven.
Meanwhile, the United Nations marked the World Food Day on Wednesday.
On October 16, representatives of the major food agencies, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program and high-level international dignitaries gathered in the Italian capital, Rome, to find the possible strategies to address food and nutritional security.