How poor access to nutritious food affects you

Wasanga Mehana spoke to Department of Health deputy director-general, Dr Yogan Pillay, about ensuring access to nutritious food

FILE: Poor quality nutrition can have devastating effects on the health and wellbeing of anyone but particularly on children. Picture: 123rf.com

With a number of issues facing South Africans, from unemployment to high cost of living, one problem that unfortunately affects far too many is hunger and inadequate access to nutritious food.

Wasanga Mehana spoke to Department of Health deputy director-general Dr Yogan Pillay about ensuring access to nutritious food.

For so many South Africans, the only food they have access to is poor quality, processed and high in sugar and salt, which is not good for physical and neurological development, according to Pillay.

Poor quality nutrition can have devastating effects on the health and wellbeing of anyone but particularly on children.

What you will then have is poor quality nutrition, which translates into things like stunting, poor cognitive abilities… and then of course, what we know now is that obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, including some of the cancers, have their roots in poor nutrition in childhood.

Yogan Pillay, Department of Health deputy director-general

This poor-quality food is not only damaging to people but also to the environment as cows produce huge amounts of methane and significant amounts of water are used in meat production.

A move towards more plant-based diets will not only help with nutrition, but also with limiting environmental damage.

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This article first appeared on 702 : How poor access to nutritious food affects you