Improving the health of citizens can directly result in economic growth, as more people will be able to conduct effective activities in the workforce. A healthy population is considered the nation’s most important asset. It is important in its own right and creates value for society, allowing people to participate in family life, the community and the workplace. However, an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity lead to global health risks.
Health presents a challenge for all nations. With the Covid-19 crisis, the unaffordability of a healthy diet has been adversely affected worldwide. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), around 3 billion people, or 42% of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet. According to statistics, Asia is considered one of the unhealthiest continents, with 1.8 billion people having no access to a healthy diet. In this regard, Pakistan ranks 40th among the unhealthiest countries in the world.
According to FAO, a healthy diet meets daily energy needs as well as requirements within the food and dietary guidelines created by the country. However, in Pakistan, people struggle to get healthy food due to increasing poverty. As per the data, around 37 per cent of the country’s population is fighting for everyday food. The situation gets worse in Balochistan as in July 2021, around 500,000 people faced a food emergency in the province (United Nations, 2021).
To address these challenges, actions must be taken by the government on a national level to improve the health of a nation’s citizens. Investment needs are directed towards areas of public spending to create the right conditions for people to lead healthy lives. The concerned authorities must develop a legislative framework to encourage long-term actions across the government to promote good health. It should also include establishing an independent body to track and analyse trends in the unhealthy diet in different areas of the country. Similarly, the government needs to change how success is measured nationally, moving beyond GDP to evaluate the policy based on health and well-being as a primary measure of successful government.