Track: Plenary Session
Current global challenges in malnutrition and other development goals call for integrated, multi-sectoral approaches focusing on the entire food system, leading to healthier and sustainable diets for all1. There is no clear and agreed definition of “healthy, sustainable diets” but typically healthy diets are considered to meet nutrient requirements of all age groups and all groups with special nutrition needs while avoiding the excessive intake of saturated fat, sugars, and salt/sodium and eliminating trans fats.1 Micronutrients, although not explicitly mentioned, are a key component of healthy diets. Unfortunately, micronutrients are currently insufficiently recognized in most food system approaches, and the global health and development community lacks a basic understanding of how the food system can contribute, at every level, to the micronutrient quality of diets. The EAT Lancet Commission6is a landmark report as the first comprehensive and scientific approach to describe the complex interactions between climate, diets, and health outcomes resulting in a recommended diet and a transformation of food systems which are good for the planet and good for human health2. However, the recommended food system transformations did not sufficiently recognize equity and heterogeneity of contexts and population groups, particularly where under- and over-nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies co-exist.3 The recommended reduction in red meat consumption, for example, need to come mainly from North America and Europe. The reality is that individuals in many LMIC countries and population subgroups, have low intakes of animal source foods and as a result do not meet their requirements of iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B12. Added to this, climate change is known to affect micronutrient levels of many staple food crops. The exact impact of climate change on micronutrient intakes has not yet been quantified and it is not known how food fortification or biofortification of crops can mitigate the effects or their environmental impact. Much is know and yet much remains to be discovered as to how to improve micronutrient status across the world while ensuring interventions do no harm.