Sustainable food systems—a health perspective

Elisabet Lindgren, Francesca Harris, Alan D. Dangour, Alexandros Gasparatos, Michikazu Hiramatsu, Firouzeh Javadi, Brent Loken, Takahiro Murakami, Pauline Scheelbeek, Andy Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Malnutrition in all forms, ranging from undernourishment to obesity and associated diet-related diseases, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, while food systems often have major environmental impacts. Rapid global population growth and increases in demands for food and changes in dietary habits create challenges to provide universal access to healthy food without creating negative environmental, economic, and social impacts. This article discusses opportunities for and challenges to sustainable food systems from a human health perspective by making the case for avoiding the transition to unhealthy less sustainable diets (using India as an exemplar), reducing food waste by changing consumer behaviour (with examples from Japan), and using innovations and new technologies to reduce the environmental impact of healthy food production. The article touches upon two of the challenges to achieving healthy sustainable diets for a global population, i.e., reduction on the yield and nutritional quality of crops (in particular vegetables and fruits) due to climate change; and trade-offs between food production and industrial crops. There is an urgent need to develop and implement policies and practices that provide universal access to healthy food choices for a growing world population, whilst reducing the environmental footprint of the global food system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1505-1517
Number of pages13
JournalSustainability Science
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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  • Cite this

    Lindgren, E., Harris, F., Dangour, A. D., Gasparatos, A., Hiramatsu, M., Javadi, F., Loken, B., Murakami, T., Scheelbeek, P., & Haines, A. (2018). Sustainable food systems—a health perspective. Sustainability Science, 13(6), 1505-1517. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-018-0586-x