Nav: Home

Environmental sustainability should be inherent to dietary guidance

January 08, 2019

Philadelphia, January 8, 2019 - It is the position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) that environmental sustainability should be inherent to dietary guidance, whether working with individuals or groups about their dietary choices or in setting national dietary guidance. Improving the nutritional health of a population is a long-term goal that requires ensuring the long-term sustainability of the food system. The position paper is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Beginning with a description of current environmental problems, the authors of the position paper discuss the challenges faced in meeting future food needs as well as the recent science behind assessing the environmental impacts of foods and diets. In a subsequent section they cover sustainability, dietary guidance, and research. While there are various angles of sustainability to consider, the focus of this paper is on the environmental dimension of sustainability.

According to Diego Rose, PhD, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA, lead author of the position paper, "Based on the best science we have today, it is clear that current environmental problems--including global climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, water shortages, and water pollution--demand urgent attention, threaten long-term food security, and are in part caused by our current food choices and agricultural practices."

"The position paper was motivated by the severity of current environmental problems, including global climate change," said Dr. Rose on the creation of the position paper. "A number of studies have been published about the difficulty of getting to 2050 with an adequate worldwide food supply due to factors such as population increase and change in dietary habits."

"The paper was also inspired by the information published in the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's scientific report to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services in 2015, which included a chapter dedicated to sustainability. We wanted to pass this vital information along to others."

Based on the evidence presented throughout the paper, the authors make recommendations on dietary guidance policy, research, and nutrition education practice. In terms of dietary guidance, SNEB recommends that environmental sustainability considerations be included in future federal dietary guidance. Future guidelines should contain specific advice, such as consuming less ruminant animal foods in favor of other protein foods. According to results from the American Climate Values Survey of 2014, about half of Americans might be disposed to dietary advice that food choice could affect the environment.

"In discussing dietary recommendations, nutritionists can discuss both the health and environmental impacts of food choices to promote behavior change among consumers," Dr. Rose said. "People want to know what to eat today, so it is incumbent on those of us who are knowledgeable about nutritional science and education techniques to provide the best advice, based on the available evidence to date."

"In order to implement the dietary advice outlined in the position paper, nutrition educators will be interested in pursuing continuing education opportunities," commented Adrienne White, PhD, RDN, professor emerita, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA, who was the president of SNEB when this position paper was developed. "The SNEB Sustainable Food Systems Division will be an important resource on environmental sustainability in dietary guidance."
-end-


Elsevier

Related Public Health Articles:

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.
BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.
The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.
Bloomberg American Health Initiative releases special public health reports supplement
With US life expectancy now on the decline for two consecutive years, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative is releasing a supplement to Public Health Reports, the scholarly journal of the US Surgeon General.
Data does the heavy lifting: Encouraging new public health approaches to promote the health benefits of muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE)
According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, almost 75 percent of US adults do not comply with public health guidelines recommending two or more muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) sessions a week, with nearly 60 percent of the population doing no MSE at all.
The Lancet Public Health: Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health
Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.
Mass. public safety, public health agencies collaborate to address the opioid epidemic
A new study shows that public health and public safety agencies established local, collaborative programs in Massachusetts to connect overdose survivors and their personal networks with addiction treatment, harm reduction, and other community support services following a non-fatal overdose.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.