Left Menu
Development News Edition

Pandemics of obesity, undernutrition, and climate change 'interlinked': Lancet


Pandemics of obesity, undernutrition, and climate change 'interlinked': Lancet
Image Credit: Pixabay

The pandemics of obesity, undernutrition, and climate change are interlinked and represent the paramount challenge for humans, the environment and our planet, says a Lancet report, that presses the need for urgent action. The report of the "Lancet Commission on Obesity" , based on 14 countries including India, demonstrates the need to take a hard line against powerful commercial interests and rethink global economic incentives within the food system in order to tackle these joint pandemics termed as 'The Global Syndemic'.

"We are already late, sitting at the pinnacle and action is needed at the national level as well as ground level," Shifalika Goenka, Professor at Public Health Foundation of India. "We need our own national monitoring framework with specific indicators which help monitor the targets at ground level for drivers of under nutrition, over nutrition and climate change," added Goenka, who is also the Commissioner on the Lancet Obesity Commission. Malnutrition in all its forms, including undernutrition and obesity, is by far the biggest cause of ill health and premature death globally.

Both undernutrition and obesity are expected to be made significantly worse by climate change. "Until now, undernutrition and obesity have been seen as polar opposites of either too few or too many calories," said Professor Boyd Swinburn of the University of Auckland. "They are both driven by the same unhealthy, inequitable food systems, underpinned by the same political economy that is single-focused on economic growth, and ignores the negative health and equity outcomes. "Climate change has the same story of profits and power ignoring the environmental damage caused by current food systems, transportation, urban design and land use," Swinburn said.

The report explained that obesity, under nutrition, and climate change also interact with each other. For example, climate change will increase under nutrition through increased food insecurity from extreme weather events, droughts, and shifts in agriculture. Likewise, foetal and infant undernutrition increases the risk of adult obesity and the harms caused due to obesity. Climate change may also affect prices of basic food commodities, especially fruit and vegetables, potentially increasing consumption of processed foods.

Driving these 'The Global Syndemic' are food and agriculture policies, transportation, urban design and land use systems -- which in turn are driven by policies and economic incentives that promote overconsumption and inequalities. The report calls to establish a Framework Convention on Food Systems (FCFS) -- similar to global conventions for tobacco control and climate change -- to restrict the influence of the food industry in policy making and to mobilise national action for healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems.

"The prevailing business model of large international food and beverage companies that focus on maximising short-term profits leads to overconsumption of nutrient-poor food and beverages in both high-income countries and increasingly in low and middle-income countries," said Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet. Led by the University of Auckland (New Zealand), the George Washington University (US), and World Obesity Federation (UK), the report is the result of a three-year project led by 43 experts from a broad range of expertise from 14 countries.

(With inputs from agencies.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

From home to healthcare, here are Robotic innovations transforming lives

Lovot is equipped with more than 50 sensors such as thermography, microphone array, obstacle detection, and touch sensor to generate motion and emotions in real-time....

Translating words to deeds: Achieving gender parity in access to financial resources

... ...

SDG13: How you can reduce global warming by changing your food habits

The mega narratives of various international organizations give the impression that fighting global warming is only a job of government agencies. However, the European Investment Bank EIB has designed a questionnaire which besides making th...

SDG2030: Challenges of technological applications in advancing Global Goals

Application of contemporary and future information technologies may go milestones in advancing sustainable development goals SDGs provided the challenges are overcome and implementation is ensured....

Videos

Latest News

Disappeared Venezuelan legislator being held in state detention -lawyer

Venezuelan opposition legislator Gilber Caro, whose whereabouts had been unknown since December, is being held in state custody and is in good condition, his lawyer said on Tuesday.A special police unit took Caro into custody on Dec. 20 in ...

Spain's new government spars with right on region's sex education veto

Spains new leftist government accused the far right on Tuesday of eroding childrens right to education and promoting ignorance in response to attempts by the region of Murcia to uphold a divisive parental veto on sex education.The ultra-con...

U.S. urges China to join nuclear arms talks with Russia

The United States urged China on Tuesday to join trilateral nuclear arms talks with Moscow, calling Beijings secrecy around growing stockpiles a serious threat to strategic stability.U.S. President Donald Trump said last year he had discuss...

Cong, CPI(M) slam TMC for not replying to guv's queries on

The Congress and CPIM on Tuesday called on West Bengal governor to discuss a bill - which is pending with him - and slammed the ruling Trinamool Congress for not replying to the queries of Jagdeep Dhankhar saying due respect should be given...

Give Feedback