Being nutrition secure |14 October 2022
With all that’s been happening over the past year, from the global Covid-19 pandemic, to conflicts between neighbouring countries, to continued global warming and increase in food prices, it is only fitting that we have a moment of reflection.
When we look at ourselves now, are we doing our part in creating a more sustainable world for future generations? The action of an individual person might seem pointless but when you add up the action of a million others then we might start to see a difference.
This year, on Sunday October 16, we are commemorating World Food Day under the theme ‘Leave no one behind’. While the long-term goal is to be able to achieve global food security we should start the conversation on whether nationally we are food and nutrition secure.
Does every Seychellois have access to safe and nutritious foods at all times? Are we producing enough that if there is a global crisis and we are unable to get imported foods, the food we have is more than adequate?
Nutrition security over food security
It may be tempting to use these two terms interchangeably however they are not the same things. In truth food security can’t exist without nutrition security.
Food security is defined as “access and availability of sufficient food to meet the needs of an individual at all times” hence placing the emphasis on quantity.
Nutrition security on the other hand encompasses the definition of food security but goes a bit further by emphasising that individuals must have access to a wide range of nutritious foods for their overall wellbeing. Therefore, it shifts the focus to the quality of the diet.
A good way to explain this further would be giving a person sufficient bread everyday (food secure) as opposed to a diversity of foods from all food groups (nutrition secure). In the first scenario you’re satisfying hunger but in the latter you are providing more than just energy but also a variety of essential nutrients.
Beyond food abundance
Our local market is saturated with so much food that it is hard to imagine food security being a problem for most people. A closer look at the types of food on offer reveals a completely different story.
While most of us are food secure there are many people who are nutrition insecure. This is evident in the number of people with non-communicable diseases and other nutrition-related complications.
It is not enough that people are able to have access to food but we should be more concerned about the types of food on offer.
Highly processed foods supersedes whole and minimally processed foods in both cost and availability. It is unsurprising therefore that many people struggle to have a healthy diet.
Healthy food swaps
There are some simple things that we can all do to improve our nutrition security. If we take a look at what we’re eating now you’ll find that most of it comes from a packet.
Even though not all packaged foods are bad, it is worth knowing how to choose the best ones or better yet how to make some healthier swaps without sacrificing the food you love.
Celebrate our local food heroes
As much as possible buy foods from our local producers, farmers and fishers. They are the real heroes because without all their hard work we cannot have access to all the food we enjoy.
Always choose local fruits, vegetables and tubers when available and accessible, especially when in season. Choose more fish as often as possible and whenever available.
Support our local food heroes so they can keep giving us an abundance of food that will help us get closer to being food and nutrition secure.
Achieving food and nutrition security should be everyone’s business. Think of one change you can make in your diet today that will improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Thank you for joining us this week on our Eat for Our Health page. Look us up on social media - Eat for our Health Seychelles on Facebook.
Please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how you’re doing with these ideas, or better still, let us know how we can help you.
Yours in health
The E4OH Team