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Food is a basic human necessity but a lot more than that too. Call yourself a foodie or not, certain favorites can instantly put a smile on your face! Sad over a breakup? Grab as many bars of chocolates as you like and wolf it down! Excited to have your friends over? Put on some music and order pizzas (extra cheese? Yes, please!). Food is nutrition, a necessity, an emotion, a harbinger of togetherness, and a celebration, all commingled and served collectively on a platter of a hearty meal!

October 16 is celebrated as World Food Day, a day dedicated to food, not merely for those who love it but for those who need it. It commemorates the establishment of the ‘Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)’ of the United Nations in 1945. It aims to spread awareness on the existing problems related to food: scarcity and obesity. World Food Day 2020 demarcates the 75th anniversary of the formation of FAO.

Significance and celebration of World Food Day

The World Food Day has traditionally been the day aiming for food security for all. Numerous outreach activities are organized where NOGs, governments, businesses, media, and the general lot come together to contribute and help the malnourished. The hopes are on a ZeroHunger world, where no child has to go to bed on an empty stomach, and no parent has to cry for not being able to feed their children.

Over the years, the global event has also simultaneously focused on nutrition, healthy diets, and sustainability to fight against obesity, a yet another plague in human lives. In over 150 countries, the day now also promotes nutritious diets and a healthy lifestyle. It calls for global solidarity to build more resilient food systems and help those in crisis.

A healthy breakfast spread

The significance of World Food Day lies in how magnanimous the scale of existing food problems is. You are constantly asked not to waste food or eat too much junk and oily food. Why? Because the repercussions can be heavy. Here are some key facts you should be aware of on this World Food Day (that might as well leave you flabbergasted!):

  • Worldwide, nearly 821 million people lack food that suffices for a healthy living. That is nearly one in every 9 people going to bed hungry every night.
  • Ironically, more than 1.9 billion adults (18 and above) are overweight, out of which over 650 million people are obese.
  • UNICEF data shows that approximately 16 million children below the age of 5 suffer from severe acute malnutrition, making it one of the major causes of deaths in infants. Out of that, only 3 million children were treated, and that’s not even 20%.
  • 38 million children below the age of five are either overweight or obese.
  • Nearly 25,000 people die of hunger every single day, amounting to nearly 9 million deaths in a year.
  • Approximately 2.8 million people die of being overweight or obese every year.

Because numbers do matter! They are a stark reminder of the significance of World Food Day and why its initiatives should be carried out and scaled up throughout the year.

World Food Day 2020 in India

World Food Day 2020 stands for “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future”. With the ongoing global pandemic, now, more than ever before, it has dawned upon India and the world how crucial good health is. So, this year’s theme throws light upon the current scenario of the pandemic as food and agriculture have played an irreplaceable role in COVID-19 response.

To mark the day, the honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, will be releasing a Commemorative Coin.

If you have erratic food habits, you run the risk of becoming obese. So, this World Food Day 2020, make a promise of harboring healthy eating habits and checking your junk and calorie intake. But hey, you don’t need to compromise on taste to eat healthily! Isn’t ‘Ghar ka khana’ an example in itself how food can entice your taste buds, satiate your hunger, and keep your tummy happy without worrying you with too many health problems?

Sure, a school friends get together on Friday nights, a family brunch at the newly opened restaurant in the locality on Sundays, or ‘masaledar chatpata’ on your way back home from the office will keep calling you! Answer their calls (sometimes!) for cheat days are healthy for the heart.

The best bet is, however, when you turn these not-so-healthy-yet-delicious street and restaurant food into healthy and nutritious ones by visiting organic cafes and healthy food restaurants. Try out Fit Dish Fetish and Yogisthaan Cafe in Bangalore, Fellas Cafe, and Paninaro in Mumbai, Pitapit, and Rawleaf in Delhi, or scout out one in your own city.

Eat healthy, stay healthy, and make your own little contributions to help others lead a healthy life. Thank the unsung #FoodHeroes to celebrate their contributions in your lives.