Press Releases, Health


The fundamental relationship between food and health is widely understood, yet profound changes in the global food systems over the last decades have resulted in significant negative impacts on health and well-being that range from food insecurity to chronic disease, and from environmental degradation to diminished economic opportunity and the erosion of culture. These impacts are experienced unequally across the globe and between different groups of people in different

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and Global Alliance for the Future of Food will launch a new report, Unravelling the Food-Health Nexus: Addressing Practices, Political Economy, and Power Relations to Build Healthier Food Systems at a side event at the 44th meeting of the Committee on Food Security on 9 October 2017.

The report shows how food systems affect health through multiple, interconnected pathways, generating severe human and economic costs — and points to levers that can help to address the critical health issues and compounding factors that contribute to poor health, like climate change, poverty and inequality, and unsanitary conditions.

“When viewed holistically, the diverse evidence available about the health impacts of food systems points to an urgent need for fundamental change,” says Global Alliance Executive Director Ruth Richardson.

Unravelling the Food–Health Nexus develops a holistic picture of food systems practices that lead to poor health — chemical-intensive agriculture, intensive livestock production, mass production and mass marketing of ultra-processed foods, and the development of long and deregulated global commodity supply chains — and the outcomes these have: unhealthy working conditions; environmental contamination; contaminated food; unhealthy diets; and food insecurity.

Report lead Cecilia Rocha (IPES-Food) says, “The report aims to provide a full picture of the health impacts of food systems, and identify the root causes of harm and how these can be addressed.” The report emphasizes the need to explore the social, structural, and environmental determinants of health associated with food systems, and calls for the protection of human health.

Rocha says it was important to the research team to highlight how poverty and inequality exacerbate the health impacts of food systems. “The research demonstrates that those without power or voice are those who are exposed to the greatest health risks.”

“Working collectively to create food systems that produces health and wellness is a shared responsibility upon which we, as a global community, simply must act,” asserts Richardson. “We must shift from systems that too often results in harm to systems based on health promotion and protection.”

The full report will be available on the Global Alliance for the Future of Food website on October 9th.
About IPES-Food
The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) brings together expert voices from different disciplines and different types of knowledge to inform the policy debate on how to reform food systems across the world. The Panel looks at issues such as health and nutrition, rural livelihood insecurity, and environmental degradation through an integrated food systems lens, bringing to light the interconnections, power imbalances, political lock-ins and potential levers for change at the systems level.

About Global Alliance for the Future of Food
The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a collaboration of philanthropic foundations that have come together to strategically leverage resources and knowledge, develop frameworks and pathways for change, and push the agenda for more sustainable food and agriculture systems globally.

For more information contact:
Nick Jacobs, Coordinator


Alex Kollo, Communications Consultant
Global Alliance for the Future of Food

Follow the discussion forum on Twitter @IPESfood @futuroffoodorg #FoodSystems4Health