By Supriya Kumar
At a recent event held at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., members of the health and nutrition community from Italy and the United States came together to discuss the multiple challenges that obesity presents. Researchers, doctors, government officials, and corporate executives came together to discuss the causes—and the economic and medical implications—of obesity and the needed policy and corporate interventions to address what is a global epidemic.
BCFN's double pyramid compares the nutritional and environmental impacts of various foods.(Image credit: BCFN)
“Although infectious diseases will decline over time, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will be a leading cause of death, especially in developed countries,” remarked Gabriele Riccardi, professor of Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Naples Federico II and member of the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) Advisory Board. People who suffer from obesity are also more vulnerable to NCDs, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, so tackling obesity is an important step in addressing global health issues.
Panelists also looked at the connections between nutrition and the environment, especially how consumption habits might contribute to environmental sustainability. Riccardi discussed the “double pyramid” which was created by BCFN after extensively reviewing various food categories in all parts of the food chain from harvest to consumption. The double pyramid highlights how healthier foods also tend to have a lower impact on the environment.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the health and food sectors are not—and should not—be regarded as mutually exclusive from each other and it is reassuring that global actors from both sectors are coming together to tackle some of our most pressing health, nutritional and environmental issues.
Click here for more information about the event. BCFN will also be hosting an event tomorrow where they will be discussing new paradigms for ensuring a future where we can enjoy healthy food and a healthy planet. Click here for more information about the event.
What do you think? How can we address the growing rate of global obesity? Let us know in the comments section!
Supriya Kumar is a research fellow with Nourishing the Planet.