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.

Image: DixieBelleCupcakeCafe, Tropical Flower Confetti Cupcakes, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
15 May 2018

Taxes to increase the price of sweet snacks such as chocolate, confectionary, cakes and biscuits could have greater health benefits than similar increases in the prices of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), according to a recent paper. 

9 May 2018

80% of children and 95% of teenagers are not eating enough vegetables, according to the Veg Power fund recently launched by The Food Foundation. Veg Power is running a crowdfunding campaign to promote vegetable consumption among children, produce information for parents, develop contacts with industry and write a book of vegetable-centred recipes for children. Supporters include Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

26 March 2018

Developed by SDG Academy, this free course explores the challenges to ensuring a healthy and sustainable diet for our growing world population, as well as the central role of agriculture in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Image: Oregon State University, Microplastic, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
26 March 2018

A report (PDF link) tested bottled water in nine different countries and found that 242 out of 259 bottles contained small pieces of plastic. The report suggests that at least some of the plastic particles may be coming from the packaging or the bottling process.

26 March 2018

This book by Parke Wilde gives updated information on food policy in the United States. The second edition includes more detail on food justice and economic methods.

Image: Billy Hathorn, USDA Bldg., Washington, D.C. IMG 4787, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
20 February 2018

A former lobbyist for the Snack Food Association and the Corn Refiners Association (whose members make high-fructose corn syrup) has been granted a waiver of conflict of interest rules, enabling her to advise the US Department of Agriculture on dietary guidelines.

Image: torbakhopper, hula hoops galore : san francisco (2013), Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
20 February 2018

A trial of a school anti-obesity programme in the West Midlands, UK, showed no improvements in body mass index, energy expenditure, body fat measurements or activity levels.

Image: ponce_photography, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
20 February 2018

The Chilean government is using marketing restrictions, packaging regulations and labelling rules to tackle obesity. Three-quarters of adults in the country, and over half of 6-year-old children, are overweight or obese.

Image: imagesthai.com, chips-close-colors-crisps, Pexels, CC0 Creative Commons
20 February 2018

The European Public Health Alliance points to five areas where food, drink and agriculture policies in Europe are expected to develop in the coming year.

Image: NIAID, E. coli bacteria, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
20 February 2018

This review paper outlines some food safety issues in Europe from the perspective of the One Health approach, which views human, animal and environmental health as related and emphasises the importance of sharing information on animal and human health.

13 February 2018

This book, by Anita Tull, explores some of the challenges that food and cooking skills education faces.

28 November 2017

This report, authored by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and commissioned by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, shows how food systems affect health through multiple, interconnected pathways, generating severe human and economic costs – and points to levers that can help to address the critical health issues and compounding factors that contribute to poor health, such as climate change, poverty and inequality, and unsanitary conditions.

28 November 2017

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has published a report titled, ‘Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition,’ focused on Asia and the Pacific. Key messages from the report highlight that the fight against hunger is slowing, but malnutrition and stunting among children below the age of five remains high.

14 November 2017

Public policy action tank Brighter Green has published a discussion paper on changing food environments and the effects on global public health. Author Judy Bankman examines the challenges created by the recent and swift adoption of a “Western”-style diet in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Photo: Colin Crowley, NEkenyaFB21|Young boy with lack of hair pigment due to protein deficiency during nutrition survey in Wajir District, Flickr, CC by 2.0
30 October 2017

This study by US- and New Zealand-based researchers estimates the effect of elevated CO2 (eCO2) on the edible protein content of crop plants, and subsequently on protein intake and protein deficiency risk globally, by country. The basis for this study is that 76% of the world’s population derives most of their daily protein from plants, and that a meta-analysis by Myers, et al. (2014) revealed that plant nutrient content (of various types including protein, iron and zinc) changes under elevated CO2.

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