Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to The Lancet, a radical restructuring of global commerce and food distribution is necessary to solve world hunger, prevent obesity and stop agriculture related carbon emissions.
The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission report
Published: January 27, 2019
Obesity is still increasing in prevalence in almost all countries and is an important risk factor for poor health and mortality. The current approach to obesity prevention is failing despite many piecemeal efforts, recommendations, and calls to action. This Commission following on from two Lancet Series on obesity looks at obesity in a much wider context of common underlying societal and political drivers for malnutrition in all its forms and climate change. The Commission urges a radical rethink of business models, food systems, civil society involvement, and national and international governance to address The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change. A holistic effort to reorient human systems to achieve better human and planetary health is our most important and urgent challenge.
From the full report;
The Commission developed a conceptual model forThe Global Syndemic that represents an inside out version of the socioecological model.
The natural systems upon which everything on the planet depends are at the centre, and the layers of human systems overlay that with the most fundamental systems (eg, governance) on the inside and moving outwards from macro to micro systems. The Foresight Obesity Systems Map,12 which was the first conceptual model to show obesity as a consequence of complex adaptive systems, has a structure centred on the individual, similar to the socioecological model. This structure is helpful in explaining differences between individuals but less helpful in explaining epidemics sweeping across entire populations.
This report describes additional sources of actions to strengthen governance and accountability systems, address vested industry interests, leverage international human rights treaties, and activate community actions and social change. Vested interests constitute a major source of policy inertia that prevents change to the existing systems. For example, national food producers and transnational ultra processed food and beverage manufacturers often exert a disproportionate influence on legislators and the policy making process. Governments face the challenge of regaining control to protect policy making and prioritise the public good over commercial interests, and restructuring business models to minimise negative externalities that contribute to poor human health and damage environments. We assert that there is a right to wellbeing based on state obligations to ensure that all people, especially vulnerable populations, have access to healthy foods and healthy environments. Many initiatives to address The Global Syndemic can begin at the community level, where the systems under local control can be collectively reoriented to achieve better health and environmental outcomes. Nonetheless, community initiatives will need to be reinforced by a regulatory and policy framework, as well as economic incentives and disincentives, to provide healthy and affordable food and beverage choices and promote social and economic environments that encourage physical activity and healthy behaviours.
The Commission believes that the recognition of The Global Syndemic will foster a convergence of many interests, encourage the emergence of an effective social movement, and realign policy measures and governance to reduce obesity, undernutrition, and climate change. Comprehensive and systemic actions are urgently needed.
Read more (Requires free email registration): Full report
What could possibly go wrong with the government seizing control of food production and distribution for the public good?
via Watts Up With That?
January 28, 2019 at 07:10PM