Where In the World Are the Best and Worst Places to Eat?

A market in Amsterdam | Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/aiace/">Franco Pecchio</a>/Flickr/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons</a>
A market in Amsterdam | Photo by Franco Pecchio/Flickr/Creative Commons

And no, we're not talking about the prevalence of Michelin-starred restaurants or the rise in GMO crops in agriculture. We're talking about a new study released this month by Oxfam America, an anti-poverty organization based in Boston.

Researchers at Oxfam developed the Good Enough to Eat Index measuring four core factors in determining where in the world we can find healthful nutrition. The index scored 125 countries on their levels of undernourishment, diversity of diets, affordability of food, and extent of obesity and diabetes.

The country taking the #1 spot? The Netherlands, the best place in the world to find a well priced, balanced and nutritious meal. Ironically, it scored poorly on the obesity measure, with nearly 1 in 5 of its population having a body mass index of more than 30.

Tied for the #2 spot are France and Switzerland, followed by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden. In fact, most of Western Europe swept the top 20 rankings, with Australia sneaking in at #8 (and tied with Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Portugal).

The bottom of the chart features nine Sub-Saharan countries and Yemen, with Chad being #125, the worst place in the world to eat. It's followed closely behind by Ethipioa and Angola (tied at #124). These poorly performing countries suffer from costly food in a volatile marketplace (some of the world's poorest spend up to 75% of their income on food), lack of clean water to prepare these foods, and daily diets of nutritionally void cereals and root vegetables.

So where does the United States land in between all of this?

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We tie for #21 with Japan, despite our abundant availability of cheap food. But all that cheap processed food -- at the expense of fresh fruits and vegetables -- is a burgeoning problem in our food system. Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, the U.S. falls short in providing access to fresh food at low cost for people of all classes. What ends up happening is a sizable chunk of Americans being malnourished because they can't afford good, whole food to make a balanced diet.

To compile these rankings, Oxfam analyzed data from the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, and the International Labor Organization.

Read more from their report.

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