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Food systems and diets: Facing the challenges of the 21st century

Haddad, L., Hawkes, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-5091-878X, Waage, J., Webb, P., Godfray, C. and Toulmin, C. (2016). Food systems and diets: Facing the challenges of the 21st century. London, UK: Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.


The world is facing a nutrition crisis: approximately three billion people from every one of the world’s 193 countries have low-quality diets. Over the next 20 years, multiple forms of malnutrition will pose increasingly serious threats to global health. Population growth combined with climate change will place increasing stress on food systems, particularly in Africa and Asia where there will be an additional two billion people by 2050. At the same time, rapidly increasing urbanization, particularly in these two regions, will affect hunger and nutrition in complex ways – both positively and negatively. Unless policy makers apply the brakes on overweight, obesity and diet-related disease and accelerate efforts to reduce undernutrition, everyone will pay a heavy price: death, disease, economic losses and degradation of the environment. A response, equivalent to that marshalled to tackle HIV/AIDS, malaria and smoking is needed to meet these challenges. Around the world, coordinated action needs to be accompanied by fundamental shifts in our understanding and in our policy actions. Much more emphasis must be given to positioning agricultural growth as a way to improve diet quality, rather than merely delivering sufficient calories. Food systems need to be repositioned from just supplying food to providing high-quality diets for all. This will require policy initiatives far beyond agriculture to encompass trade, the environment and health, which harness the power of the private sector and empower consumers to demand better diets. This report is a call to action for world leaders and their governments. Leadership and commitment will be essential in driving forward the decisions set out in this report and in delivering the necessary priority actions to reshape the global food system.

Publication Type: Report
Additional Information: Copyright © 2016 by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
Publisher Keywords: Food systems, diets, malnutrition
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology > Food Policy
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2018 12:25
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