Pope Francis said that there is a “distorted relationship between food and nutrition” in the world, resulting in both world hunger and obesity, even in poorer nations.
In a message Wednesday to Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the pope said that food “is ceasing to be a means of subsistence and turning into an avenue of personal destruction.”
This means that “820 million of the world’s people suffer from hunger, while almost 700 million are overweight, victims of improper dietary habits,” the pontiff stated in his message for World Food Day.
Many of these overweight people, he suggested, are found not in affluent nations but in developing countries “where they eat little but increasingly poorly, since they imitate dietary models imported from developed areas.”
Francis said that these improper eating habits call for “a conversion in our way of living and acting,” which must begin with nutrition.
“Nutritional disorders can only be combatted by the cultivation of lifestyles inspired by gratitude for the gifts we have received and the adoption of a spirit of temperance, moderation, abstinence, self-control and solidarity,” he said.
These nutritional virtues “summon us to a more simple and sober life, and unfailing concern for the needs of those around us,” he added.