Highest cost for healthy diet in Latin America and the Caribbean: UN Report

131 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean cannot access a healthy diet

A new United Nations report finds that 22.5 percent of the Latin America and the Caribbean population cannot afford a healthy diet. In the Caribbean this figure reaches 52 percent; in Mesoamerica, 27.8 percent; and in South America, 18.4 percent.

The Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean reports that 131.3 million people in the region could not afford a healthy diet in 2020. This represents an increase of 8 million compared to 2019 and is due to the higher average daily cost of healthy diets in Latin America and the Caribbean compared to the rest of the world’s regions – an average of $3.89 per person per day compared to the global average of $3.54.In the the Caribbean this reaches a value of $4.23, followed by South America and Mesoamerica with $3.61 and $3.47, respectively. 

This problem is related to different socioeconomic and nutritional indicators. The report presents a clear relationship between the inability to afford a healthy diet and such variables as a country’s income level, the incidence of poverty, and the level of inequality. 

The report also reveals that the rise in international food prices experienced since 2020,  exacerbated after the start of the war in Ukraine, and a regional increase in food inflation above the general level, have increased the difficulties for people to access a healthy diet. 

The report  is a joint publication of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO); the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO); the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Image credit- FAO

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