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Want to fix obesity and climate change at the same time? Make Big Food companies pay.

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Obesity, climate change, and malnutrition are among the greatest global crises facing our world today. Wouldn’t it be great if there were solutions to tackle all three problems at once? That might sound far-fetched. But a new report, published Sunday in the Lancet, implores us to think about the possibility of big, systemic fixes for these interrelated scourges.

Overnutrition, undernutrition, and global warming share common causes: powerful commercial interests that promote overconsumption, “policy inertia,” and weak governance, according to the report, led by the University of Auckland in New Zealand, George Washington University in the US, and World Obesity Federation in the UK.

Nowhere is that more pronounced than in the global food industry: Large food companies stuff our shelves with calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods. They market their sugary drinks and snacks to children. And they lobby politicians to obstruct policies and subsidies that’d help us eat healthier. This global food system also generates up to a third of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Some governments have been trying to address health and environmental problems in a holistic manner. For example, Sweden, Germany, Qatar, and Brazil have all developed national food guidelines “that promote environmentally sustainable diets and eating patterns that ensure food security,” according to the report. Mexico and Britain (and local governments across the US) are experimenting with sugary drinks taxes, and Chile is leading the world with warning labels on packaged foods.

But progress is patchy and too slow, the report authors warn. In the US, for example, obesity is on the rise, and the same is true for many low- and middle-income countries. We’re also hurtling toward an environmental catastrophe as temperatures continue to increase.

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Posted by on Jan 30 2019. Filed under Climate change, Food security. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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