SANTIAGO, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Latin America has made the most significant progress in the world towards eradicating hunger in the past 20 years, an official of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Wednesday.
Marking World Food Day, FAO regional representative Raul Benitez said that the number of malnourished people in the region had decreased by 3 million from 2008 to 2010, leaving a total of 47 million.
"Observing the longer-term trend, the percentage of malnourished people has fallen by almost half compared to the 1990s, an achievement that shows us zero hunger is a possible goal," Benitez said.
He called on governments in the region to continue expanding programs, policies and strategies concerning food security to ensure that today's Latin Americans will be the last generation to live with the problem of hunger.
In Bolivia, one of the region's poorest nations, the FAO's regional representative Crispim Moreira said he was confident the nation would meet its 2015 goal of reducing the number of people at risk of hunger or malnutrition to 17 percent.
As part of World Food Day, the FAO also launched a campaign to fight obesity and unhealthy weight gain, since these problems affect 23 percent of adults and 7 percent of pre-school age children in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This year's celebration seeks to draw attention to the promotion of global food systems to guarantee people's health.
According to the FAO, average food availability per person has increased 40 percent in the last 50 years, despite the fact that the world's population has tripled. Nevertheless, 842 million people still face hunger each day, while 1.5 billion people are obese or overweight.
FAO called on countries to transform food availability into better nutrition for all and to make food production and consumption environmentally and socially sustainable.