I’m a big fan of UN special rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, and excited that his analysis of healthy food systems extends beyond developing countries to point out much needed improvement in developed countries as well. My original interest in food justice and food systems developed when I started researching disproportionate rates of diet-related illness like obesity and diabetes in ethnic minorities in the US. The prevalence of these diseases has risen astronomically over the past few years: the DHHS recently set a goal to decrease childhood obesity to 14.6% prevalence by 2020–yes, we’re over that, at 16.9% currently. While there are mixed opinions on why obesity has taken the nation by storm, the bottom line is that it has to do with what Americans are eating. I think it has to do with the changing quality of affordable foods… and a host of social and economic factors that affect the food choices people make.. but i digress.
The latest is that the US is exporting this diet, and it may be driving similar health outcomes in other parts of the world. This is a great example of how economic policies can have physical, health-damaging side effects. Check out the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s new report how US farm and trade policy is affecting Mexicans, and if you want to learn more, this webinar next week.
The Link Between Trade, Diet and Health
Thursday, April 19, 2012
3pm Eastern, 2pm Central
Global diets are increasingly facing the dual challenge of undernourishment and obesity, a trend characterized by an abundance of low nutrition, high calorie, processed foods. United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, has released a new report calling for a reassessment of unhealthy food systems in both rich and poor countries. A new IATP study examines the role U.S. agriculture and trade policies play in contributing to the rise in obesity. Join Professor Olivier de Schutter, IATP’s Dr. David Wallinga and Karen Hansen-Kuhn for a discussion about how our global food system is driving the rapid rise in diet-related disease, and what can be done about it.