Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Health issues

Food provides the nutrients we need for effective metabolic functioning. Malnutrition in all its forms is common across the globe and causes many serious health issues from conception and throughout the life course. Some 800 million people still go to bed hungry today, while around 2 billion people are now overweight or obese  these include poor people and increasingly citizens of low and middle income countries – and their numbers are growing. Overlapping with these numbers around 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, which cause physical and cognitive problems. Poor diets rich in processed foods and animal products and low in fruit and vegetables are now the main cause of premature deaths worldwide, implicated in diseases such as obesity, strokes, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. In addition, our nutrition and broader health status also influence our susceptibility to infectious diseases. Diet-related health outcomes are shaped by multiple social, economic, cultural and political factors and these influences on food consumption interact with other factors (from environmental through to genetic) to influence health.

30 September 2017

This book aimed at an academic audience is edited by A. Bryce Hoflund, John C. Jones and Michelle C. Pautz. It has sections on topics such as the regulation of food, food insecurity and the role of local food system in public health.

Figure 3: Photo Credit: Roadsidepictures, Diet Soda, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
25 September 2017

A paper published by Dana Small and colleagues at Yale sheds new light on the mechanism behind the effects of artificial sweeteners. The paper analyses artificial sweeteners and how they affect metabolism.

25 September 2017

The WCRF has released a report on colorectal cancer as part of its Continuous Update Project (CUP) – an ongoing programme to analyse global research on how diet, nutrition, physical activity and weight affect cancer risk and survival. The report confirms that, along with other risk factors, consuming red and processed meat increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Photo: Areeb Anwer, Flickr, Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic
12 September 2017

These two papers in the journal The Lancet report on the initial findings of the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. This large population-based study found that a diet that includes a moderate intake of fat and fruits and vegetables, and in which less than 60% of energy comes from carbohydrates, is associated with lower risk of death. The authors call for a reconsideration of global dietary recommendations in light of their results.

7 June 2017

The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health brings together 20 world-leading scientists from across the globe to reach a scientific consensus that defines a healthy and sustainable diet. The commission’s report will be published by The Lancet in Spring 2018.

7 June 2017

This report by the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) presents both evidence and recommendations for European policy development on sustainable healthy diets. Starting with an overview of the health and environmental consequences of dietary habits this report moves on to present an analysis of individual and societal costs and benefits of implementing sustainable healthy diets, and a list of the European actors and institutions working on this issue. It also looks at evidence of progress from different European countries (FBDG Food Based Dietary Guidelines, Labeling, fiscal policy, procurement and other EU regional level initiatives).

16 May 2017

The World Obesity Federation has published its position statement recognising obesity as a disease in the journal Obesity reviews. The World Obesity Federation is an organization representing professional societies from many countries that focus on research, education and health care for people with obesity. The Federation has commissioned this statement to argue for the position that ‘Obesity is a chronic relapsing disease process’ and to serve as the basis for their position on this issue.

Photo: Oliver Hallmann, Steak, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
16 May 2017

In this editorial in the medical journal BMJ, professor of epidemiology John D. Potter discusses the mounting evidence that our current levels meat consumption harms human health and is equally bad for the planet.

Photo: natalienicolecrane, fishing at lake victoria, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
8 May 2017

A common hypothesis used to link declining human health to environmental outcomes predicts that illness will reduce human populations or harvest effort, thus benefitting the environment. When investigating the behaviour of fishers around Lake Victoria in Kenya, this research found little evidence that illness reduced fishing effort to indirectly benefit the environment. Instead, ill fishers shifted their fishing methods – using more illegal methods concentrated in inshore areas, that are less physically demanding but environmentally destructive.

19 April 2017

The report Redefining Protein: Adjusting Diets to Protect Public Health and Conserve Resources distils current research looking at the social and environmental impacts of producing high-protein foods other than meat (legumes: pulses and soy, nuts and seeds, eggs and dairy). It aims to provide hospitals with key information to design healthier meals. 

Photo: Camy West, food, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
19 April 2017

In this letter to the editor in Nature, the authors challenge simplified dietary strategies used in lifecycle assessment (LCA) based studies. Citing a paper that presents the LCA of three dietary scenarios for a basket of food products (representative of EU consumption) they argue that “it is irresponsible to present environmentally motivated dietary strategies... that conflict with longstanding public health nutrition objectives.”. 

12 April 2017

Planetary health is a new approach that broadens health research to include the health of human civilisations and the natural (external) systems on which they depend. In a new journal, alongside The Lancet Public Health and The Lancet Global Health, The Lancet Planetary Health will explore the links between planetary and human health and how we can protect the environment on which we depend and develop sustainable systems that support human health. 

4 April 2017

In this article researchers argue that even just 2.5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily can lower the chance of heart disease, stroke, cancer and premature death. If the amount is further increased to 10 a day this could prevent up to 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year.

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