Where's the best place in the world for plentiful, affordable and nutritious food? Not here, according to Oxfam. The U.S. didn't even make it into the top 20 of the 125 countries the international organization compared in their Good Enough to Eat index, announced yesterday.
The Netherlands is number one, followed by France and Switzerland. Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Belgium tied for fourth. As if you needed another reason - along with public transportation, health care, chocolate and great beer - to want to move to Northern Europe.
And the United States? Despite having the most affordable food in the world, we're tied with Japan for 21st on the list, due in large part to our "extreme" levels of obesity and diabetes (see: plentiful AND healthful). Japan's rankings sank because of the high price of food in that country.
All the top 20 are European countries, except for Australia, which is tied for eighth. Chad is last, ranking 125th behind Ethiopia and Angola.
Oxfam's index compares 125 countries to create a snapshot of the different challenges people face in getting food. The organization compiled the data between October and December of 2013, using the most recent information from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Foundation and the International Labour Organization, among other international organizations.
"Having sufficient healthy and affordable food is not something that much of the world enjoys," said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. "Across the globe, particularly in developing countries, far too many people are consuming more and more unhealthy food. Paradoxically, more than 800 million people cannot get enough nutritious food to eat. Governments and the food industry are failing to ensure that everyone is able to eat healthfully, despite there being more than enough food to go around."
Oxfam said the latest figures show 840 million people go hungry every day, despite there being enough food for the hungry.
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Founded in 1942 in Oxford, England, as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by a group of Quakers, social activists and Oxford academics, Oxfam is calling for urgent reform to the way food is produced and distributed around the world.