We can all play doctors in the “Food – Health Nexus”

costs of food systems

Do you eat? Do you feel pain? Are you a human? If yes, please feel free to read further.

During a side event at this year’s CFS44 IPES-Foodand Global Alliance for the Future of Foodpresented their “hot of the press” report on “Unravelling the Food-Health Nexus”. The report addresses practices, political economy and power relations needed to build healthier food systems around the world. The event gathered a great variety of speakers from different sectors: researchers, government & NGO representatives, policy makers and private sector representatives, providing for a lively debate and thought-provoking contributions on the topic.

First interesting finding that also generated the push for this report is the fact that the wide impact of food systems on human health is actually not sufficiently understood.

As the introduction to the report states:

“Too often the negative health impacts are disconnected 1) from one another, 2) from the food system practices that systematically generate health risks, and 3) from the underlying environmental and socio-economic conditions for health — conditions that are, in turn, undermined by food system activities.”

Comes as a bit of a shocker if we think about all the “food is a medicine” and “you are what you eat” clichés we throw around so easily. Well, the surprise comes with the bill at the end of the meal.  In fact the second interesting outcome of the report is the price tag our current food systems come with. Very elevated human and economic costs which we all bear. (See the infographic for example figures)

I am a big supporter of agriculture and food production and I don’t want to in any way undermine their positive effects on our lifestyle, health and wellbeing. However, by attending this side event, I cam to understand that I’ve never really explored the food-health nexus in a comprehensive way, mainly focusing on the importance of addressing malnutrition and food safety and security. These issues are of course not ignored in the report which simply goes much more in depth and adds more aspects to the plate.

Read the full post on the CFS blog here.

This blog is based on the CFS44 side event “Unravelling the Food-Health Nexus, Addressing practices, political economy and power relations to build healthier food systems”

Blogpost by Ksenija Simovic #CFS44 Social Reporter – Ksenija.Simovic(at)copa-cogeca.eu
Picture courtesy IPES Food Report- 
UNRAVELLING THE FOOD–HEALTH NEXUS Fig 1 pp.11

This post is part of the live coverage during the 44rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security, a joint project between GFAR and CFS. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only. 


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