Tag Archives: food system

Hunger and obesity

A happy new year!

At the beginning of the new year, I want to think with you about two global health issues, hunger, and obesity.

Generally, we think that hunger is problem in developing countries and obesity is in developed countries however according to the WHO report, one-third of poorer countries face both undernutrition and obesity.

Ellen Gustafson is an American businessperson, social entrepreneur, and sustainable food system activist who also delivered the following famous presentation:

Ellen Gustafson • TEDxEast

Hunger and obesity are the same malnutrition problems and exist in the same country. In this case, logically lack of the amount of food at least calorie base is not the cause of them. In addition to that, most people are suffered from hunger are farmers. They produce food but lack meals.

What is the root cause of these world problems?

Let’s use “systems thinking”.

When you look at the above sustainable food system chart, you realize that we are living in a global food system. We are producing, exporting importing, and consuming foods. As a result of the current system, we have those paradoxical problems.

This is a system problem.

How can we solve this problem? Which is the leverage factor?

We should change all the system factors however I propose one factor to tackle with. Our dietary habits.

If we know the ideal behavior to eat, we would be healthy and reduce the amount of food to eat in case we eat too much, however, in most cases, we do not care and do not have enough knowledge.

Therefore, education on dietary habits in terms of preventive health will be a starting point.

If consumers change their diets, retailers would change their products.

Then, ideally, processors, collectors, and producers change their products.

If the system changes like this, we can have healthy diets more easily.

Dietary habit is the starting point and the goal of our healthy life.