Hunger, obesity and other forms of malnutrition will continue to increase if there is no deep change in food systems, said FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva.

Food systems have the potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability, however our current trajectories threaten both. The EAT–Lancet Commission addresses the need to feed a growing global population a healthy diet while also defining sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our planet.   

The Commission quantitively describes a universal healthy reference diet, based on an increase in consumption of healthy foods (such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts), and a decrease in consumption of unhealthy foods (such as red meat, sugar, and refined grains) that would provide major health benefits, and also increase the likelihood of attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is set against the backdrop of defined scientific boundaries that would ensure a safe operating space within six Earth systems, towards sustaining a healthy planet.  

The EAT–Lancet Commission is the first of a series of initiatives on nutrition led by The Lancet in 2019, and followed by the Commission on the Global Syndemic of obesity, undernutrition, and climate change.

To access the EAT–Lancet Commission Hub page at The Lancet, click here.For the full report Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems (Walter Willett et al.), click here.

Food systems have the potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability, however our current trajectories threaten both. The EAT–Lancet Commission addresses the need to feed a growing global population a healthy diet while also defining sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our planet.   

The Commission quantitively describes a universal healthy reference diet, based on an increase in consumption of healthy foods (such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts), and a decrease in consumption of unhealthy foods (such as red meat, sugar, and refined grains) that would provide major health benefits, and also increase the likelihood of attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is set against the backdrop of defined scientific boundaries that would ensure a safe operating space within six Earth systems, towards sustaining a healthy planet.  

The EAT–Lancet Commission is the first of a series of initiatives on nutrition led by The Lancet in 2019, and will be followed by the upcoming Commission on the Global Syndemic of obesity, undernutrition, and climate change.

To access the EAT–Lancet Commission Hub page at The Lancet, click here.For the full report Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems (Walter Willett et al.), click here.

Strengthening Sector Policies for Better Food Security and Nutrition Results

This guidance note supports the use of a comprehensive food systems approach (rather than a sectoral approach) and gives guidance on how to use food systems entry points to guide the delivery of healthy diets and subsequently address all forms of malnutrition. However, particular focus is given to tackling overweight and obesity and preventing NCDs through healthier diets because of their increasing prevalence globally. The food systems approach detailed in this guidance note encompasses the creation of enabling food environments alongside cross-government policy dialogue. It aims to support decision-makers and stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector by addressing the following questions:

  • How can each domain of the food system be coordinated to better contribute to healthy diets in order to prevent all forms of malnutrition, in particular overweight and obesity as well as diet-related NCDs?
  • What changes in the food system are needed? What are the policy options that would positively impact people’s diets?
  • What is the best way to actually bring about policy change?

This policy guidance note examines the various policy and intervention opportunities arising across the food system to support increased availability of and better access to affordable healthy diets. Through a stepwise approach, the guidance note supports decision-makers and stakeholders to better understand the interactions between the relevant policy instruments for reshaping food systems and creating enabling food environments in support of healthy diets, identify policy options and understand the political economy in order to facilitate policy change.

This guidance note supports the use of a comprehensive food systems approach (rather than a sectoral approach) and gives guidance on how to use food systems entry points to guide the delivery of healthy diets and subsequently address all forms of malnutrition.

However, particular focus is given to tackling overweight and obesity and preventing NCDs through healthier diets because of their increasing prevalence globally. The food systems approach detailed in this guidance note encompasses the creation of enabling food environments alongside cross-government policy dialogue. It aims to support decision-makers and stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector by addressing the following questions:

  • How can each domain of the food system be coordinated to better contribute to healthy diets in order to prevent all forms of malnutrition, in particular overweight and obesity as well as diet-related NCDs?
  • What changes in the food system are needed? What are the policy options that would positively impact people’s diets?
  • What is the best way to actually bring about policy change?

This policy guidance note examines the various policy and intervention opportunities arising across the food system to support increased availability of and better access to affordable healthy diets. Through a stepwise approach, the guidance note supports decision-makers and stakeholders to better understand the interactions between the relevant policy instruments for reshaping food systems and creating enabling food environments in support of healthy diets, identify policy options and understand the political economy in order to facilitate policy change.

The FIRST’s Policy Guidance Notes series ensures that policy makers have the support they need to understand how sectoral issues affect food security and nutrition and to recognise how to incorporate these considerations into their policies.

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 161.7 points in December, compared to a revised level of 161.6 points in the previous month. The index averaged 168.4 points for the whole of 2018, some 3.5 percent lower than in 2017 and almost 27 percent below the high point reached in 2011.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the University of Chile will join efforts in the areas of research, training, and technology transfer.

Country commitments to the Nutrition Decade are included in an online repository and being tracked on regular basis by country self-assessments. We welcome you to follow progress from BrazilEcuador and Italy.

Additional countries are currently developing their commitments with guidance from the recently released FAO/WHO resource guide Strengthening Nutrition Action.

ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is demanding an immediate end to the diversion of humanitarian food relief in Yemen after uncovering evidence of the practice in the capital, Sana’a, and other parts of the country controlled by the Ansarullah (Houthi) movement.