2019-01-16 2019: the year for nutrition
The Lancet Editorial| Volume 393, ISSUE 10168, P200, January 19, 2019
Poor nutrition is a key driver and risk factor for disease. However, there has been a global failure to address this. It is everyone's and no-one's problem. Nutrition had no dedicated Millennium Development Goal and still has no Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). SDG 2, zero hunger, addresses only one of the many manifestations of poor nutrition. Despite several efforts, actions for improving nutrition have failed to gain global traction.
The Lancet sees new knowledge as an important lever for accelerating political commitment to address poor nutrition. In 2019, we are approaching nutrition from several perspectives. Published today, Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets for Sustainable Food Systems links nutritional targets with environmental sustainability. The Commission's recommendations combine optimal caloric intake within food groups with boundaries for Earth systems within which food systems operate toward a diet that is healthy for humans and the planet.
On Jan 27, The Lancet will publish a second Commission that explores additional aspects of nutrition and food systems. The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change began as a Commission on obesity after two Lancet Series on the subject. But the Commissioners decided to take a much broader approach because all attempts to stem the worldwide increase of obesity (with a focus on obesity alone) have failed. The triple challenges of obesity, undernutrition, and climate change, which interact and affect human and planetary health, need solutions that disrupt their common underlying societal and political drivers.
Building on these two Commissions, later in 2019 The Lancet will publish a Series of papers on the Double Burden of Malnutrition, led by WHO and informed by approaches including evolutionary anthropology and economics. Future Series will include papers on adolescent-specific nutrition. Nutrition is a vast subject that needs a multisectoral approach. Throughout this year, nutrition will be a special focus at The Lancet family of journals. Sustainable food systems that ensure health-promoting nutrition for all need urgent attention and will benefit people and planet alike.
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