Commission ties malnutrition with impacts of climate change

A new Lancet Commission report co-published by the University of Auckland the George Washington University has detailed the intricate relationship between obesity, undernutrition and climate change.

Auckland University’s Professor Boyd Swinburn said that immediate action to reverse the growing impacts of the three pandemics – dubbed the global syndemic – must be taken to ensure the continuity of food supply and human health.

“Obesity, undernutrition and climate change are usually viewed as separate, but we show that not only do they share many key drivers, they fuel each other via multiple feedback loops,” Professor Swinburn said.

Professor Swinburn, who also led two previous Lancet reports on obesity, said malnutrition in all its forms, including undernutrition and obesity, was by far the biggest cause of ill-health and premature death in every country.

The report’s recommendations include:

  • A new global treaty on food systems – similar to existing ones on tobacco control and climate change - to mobilise national action for healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems and to restrict the enormous influence of the food industry in government policy-making.

  • Re-directing subsidies towards healthy and sustainable foods and energy.

  • A global philanthropic fund of US$1 billion to support social movements demanding policy action.

  • A ‘7-generations fund’ to research and apply indigenous and traditional knowledge and world views on living well within and nurturing our environments. This is based on the principle of the Iroquois Nation of making decisions today for seven generations ahead.

The full report can be found here

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