Health Externalities

The connection between food systems and health is fundamental to addressing critical issues such as diet-related chronic diseases and malnutrition, with strong evidence that the transition to more sustainable, equitable and secure food systems offers positive health outcomes. The Global Alliance for the Future of Food seeks to strengthen these connections and better understand the external, hidden costs of food production, distribution and consumption, with health impacts being central.

To carry out this work, the Global Alliance commissioned IPES-Food – the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems – to review and synthesize the evidence related to health impacts and externalities of food systems, and to produce a report that will make transparent:

  • The state of research and existing body of evidence related to health impacts and externalities in the food system;
  • The gaps and debates that exist in this research, including methodological differences in how to collect evidence, assess causality, and measure impacts;
  • What opportunities exist to strengthen the body of evidence; and,
  • How this type of research has been used and can be used strategically to advocate for food systems reform.

The final report was released in Fall 2017.

We will be pursuing opportunities to further this work by: exploring the positive benefits and impacts of sustainable food systems; identifying opportunities for policy change; and, together with our member foundations, amplifying the fundamental role that food systems play in creating health and well-being in all ecosystems, human and non-human communities, addressing the most harmful practices, and finding new pathways forward, together.

We see a role for philanthropy in strengthening public understanding of the fundamental relationship between food systems and the creation and sustenance of health and well-being, and in encouraging strategic alliances between food systems advocates and the health sector.

Mathilde Douillet, PhD

Lead of the Global Alliance Advancing Well-being Working Group and Program Manager, Sustainable Food Systems, Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso