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.
The director of nutrition at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Anna Lartey warns that while addressing problems with undernutrition has long been the main focus of African countries and aid organisations, the increasing challenges related to overweight and obesity are not being given sufficient attention.
This paper quantifies what the environmental impacts would be if the typical US diet were to shift in line with the USDA dietary recommendations. The paper has created a lot of interest and debate since it shows that shifting towards healthier diets in some cases can increase the energy, emission and water intensity of the diet. This is why we wanted to provide a more extensive summary and some commentary below. Please do read, share and add your own comments.
A new form of antibiotic resistance was recently identified and the results of the ongoing research project have been published in The Lancet Infectious Disease. The Lancet published the paper as part of their series on antimicrobial access and resistance to coincide with the WHO’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week for Nov 16–22, 2015.
A new report by the Commons’ Health Committee discusses the potential of implementing a sugary drink tax as a way of combating child obesity. Sugary drinks are the largest sources of sugar for 11 to 18 year-olds and there is increasing concern over the effects of sugar on people’s health, particularly the health of children and teenagers.
The Food Foundation, a UK think tank that presents policy solutions to the public health challenges produced by the food system, has published its initial response to the Government’s spending review – which sets out departmental spending priorities over the next five years. The response focusses on the Review’s implications for food insecurity and public health spending.
Over 75 top nutrition scientists and medical experts gathered in Boston in October 2015 at the Finding Common Ground Conference, convened by the non-profit Oldways to try to agree on principles for a healthy diet (primarily aimed at a U.S. audience). Oldways is a food and nutrition education organization aiming to inspire healthy eating through cultural food traditions and lifestyles. The meeting was attended by a diverse range of experts, many vocal proponents of particular types of diets (vegan, paleo, low-fat, Mediterranean etc.) and is described to have led to some heated debates.
WHO has released a first set of Climate Change and Health Country Profiles that provide a snapshot of up-to-date information about the current and future impacts of climate change on human health. The Climate and Health Country Profile project is an ongoing initiative that supports interested WHO Member States in finalising country profiles through a country consultation process.
In this paper researchers recommend taking a broader "systems" approach to food policy in order to tackle public health issues as far-ranging as climate change and antibiotic use in food animal production. Three examples are given of a food systems approach to food policy: farm-to-school programs, incorporating sustainability into the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and antibiotic use in food animal production.
In June 2014, Public Health England (PHE) published ‘Sugar reduction: Responding to the challenge’. This set out what PHE would do to review the evidence across a broad range of areas and identify those where action is most likely to be effective in reducing sugar intakes. The findings from this review and the assessment of the evidence-based actions to reduce sugar consumption are set out in this report “Sugar reduction – the evidence for action”.
This new report “Planetary Health: Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch” launched by The Rockefeller Foundation - Lancet Commission argues that changing environmental conditions such as increased carbon dioxide emissions, rampant use of fertilizer and the acidification of the oceans could lead to major health challenges for millions of people. Increasing population, unsustainable consumption and production and the over-exploitation of natural resources are also factors straining the planet's resources and having an impact on human health.
The EAT initiative in collaboration with the think tank and consultancy Sustainia has released a new publication EAT in Sustainia, discussing the global food system and the challenges, opportunities and solutions we have to understand in relation to the future of food, health and our environment.
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat in Group 1 of carcinogenic substances– the highest evidence level (“based on sufficient evidence”). Red meat is placed in Group 2A as probably carcinogenic (based on limited evidence). The new classification is announced in a research summary report published in The Lancet Oncology 26 October 2015 where WHO summarises its review of all scientific evidence on which substances can be linked to any type of cancer in humans.
In a joint project researchers from the University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany) looked at the direct medical treatment costs of nutrition-associated diseases related to the overconsumption of sugars, salt and saturated fatty acids. In all, the team identified 22 clinical endpoints with 48 risk-outcome pairs.
A systematic evidence review by researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit, investigates the influence of portion, package and tableware size on food consumption.
This Bloomberg article and video interview discusses the new recommendations published to inform the development of the 2015 US dietary guidelines.