October 2nd, 2017

Nutrition and food systems

Published by HLPE,

This report (PDF) by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) aims to analyse how food systems influence diets and nutrition. Ending hunger remains critically important but other forms of malnutrition, like overweight and obesity, have become widespread and must also be tackled. Global dietary patterns have been changing, affecting people in all parts of the world. While some of these changes have had a positive effect on diets that promote health, others have been negative. One example is the significant increase in animal source foods (ASF) consumption in developing countries, with mixed results on nutrition. Reversing such trends remains a significant concern, considering the complex impacts of ASF on health, nutrition status and the environment. The report identifies five main categories of drivers of food system changes that influence nutrition and diets: biophysical and environmental; innovation, technology and infrastructure; political and economic; socio-cultural; and demographic drivers. Food systems allow many points for intervention; across the supply chain, within food environments and related to consumer behavior. Many promising programmes and policies to reduce the multiple burdens of malnutrition are currently being piloted, tested and scaled. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and solutions must be adapted to the different food systems and to each local context. In the face of the myriad of dietary and malnutrition challenges that lie ahead, a coordinated, multisectoral, enabling environment and response are necessary for true change across food systems.

Curated from fao.org