Despite affordable prices and high food quality, the United States tied with Japan for 21st place in a ranking of the world’s food systems, according to the international advocacy confederation Oxfam.
The report, released Tuesday evening, judged the food systems of 125 countries according to four major metrics: food quality, abundance of food, affordability of food and eating habits of citizens.
High diabetes and obesity rates in the U.S. brought down the nation’s score, ranking it just behind 20 European countries and Australia.
The Netherlands took first place, followed by France and Switzerland tied at second. Chad scored worst, with other African nations occupying much of the bottom half of the rankings.
Other notable rankings include Canada, tied for 25th place; Mexico, tied for 44th, and China, tied for 57th.
The food quality of each nation’s system was judged by the availability of nutritionally diverse food options and access to safe water. The U.S. tied with Australia for fourth place in terms of food quality, beaten out by Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
The U.S. earned the best score for affordability of food, which was based on relative food prices and the volatility of food price inflation.
Only five nations scored worse than the U.S. in the “unhealthy eating” category, which was based on rates of diabetes and obesity. Those countries were Saudi Arabia, Fiji, Jordan, Mexico and Kuwait.
The goal of the report was to produce a snapshot of the most recent global data on food conditions and challenges to overcoming obstacles that prevent people from eating healthfully. According to Oxfam, more than 840 million people go hungry every day, despite there being enough food produced to feed every person on the planet.
“The looming squeeze on natural resources – particularly land and water – and the gathering pace of climate change are set to make this worse,” the report stated.
The top 25 overall scores are listed below:
2. France and Switzerland (two-way tie)
4. Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Belgium (four-way tie)
8. Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Luxembourg and Australia (five-way tie)
13. Spain, Greece, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, Cyprus and Iceland (eight-way tie)
21. United States and Japan (two-way tie)
23. New Zealand and Israel (two-way tie)
25. Canada, Brazil, Estonia, Slovakia and Hungary (five-way tie)© Food Safety News