Team approach boosts human and environmental wellbeing

February 25, 2015

Even seemingly intractable problems such as the antibiotic crisis and the obesity epidemic could be resolved by treating human health and society as an integral part of an ecosystem.

Renowned health and nutrition expert Professor Mark Wahlqvist of Monash University said the living world was by nature a collaborative enterprise rather than a competitive one.

"It is unhelpful to look at ourselves as discrete species as the interconnectedness of all things, animate and inanimate, becomes more apparent," he said.

In research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Professor Wahlqvist says awareness is growing of the ecosystem-dependent nature of human health.

"The problem now faced is that ecosystems have been plundered in such an anthropocentric fashion that their sustainability is precarious and our health with it," he said.

Calling for a re-evaluation of many ecosystems, from the home, school and work-place to health care, communication, transport and recreation, Professor Wahlqvist said we had become accustomed to blaming disease and dysfunction on one factor, or a small set of factors.

Such views had contributed to the rise of medications such as antibiotics, as well as their probable imminent demise.

"We confront multiple-resistant microorganisms in farm animals and ourselves that no currently available antibiotic can eradicate, not least because of their misuse as growth promotants in livestock for human consumption," he said.

"Better ecosystem management is likely to be one of the few solutions available to this crisis."

Professor Wahlqvist also said more integrative approaches to health-care practice were required.

He canvasses such seemingly simple remedial measures as eating a varied and home-cooked diet that is largely derived from plants; walking 30 to 40 minutes a day; keeping a garden; and ensuring access to a natural environment. All can go a long way towards ensuring general human health and longevity plus environmental sustainability.

"A sense of ourselves as ecological creatures is needed, planning as families and communities to reduce environmental pressure, and maintain and renew ecosystems," he said.

"A whole global movement is needed to provide hope for future generations."

Monash University

Related Nutrition Articles from Brightsurf:

Here's how to improve packaged foods nutrition
FOP nutrition labeling results in a significant improvement in the nutritional quality of food products.

'Front of package' nutrition labels improved nutrition quality
A new study analyzing 16 years of data on tens of thousands of products finds that the adoption of nutrition data on ''front of package'' labels is associated with improved nutritional content of those foods and their competitors.

Aquaculture's role in nutrition in the COVID-19 era
A new paper from American University examines the economics of an aquaculture industry of the future that is simultaneously environmentally sustainable and nutritious for the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who depend on it.

Fathers are more likely to be referred for nutrition or exercise counseling
Fatherhood status has been linked to medical providers' weight-related practices or counseling referrals.

Refugee children get better health, nutrition via e-vouchers
Electronic food vouchers provided young Rohingya children in Bangladeshi refugee camps with better health and nutrition than direct food assistance, according to new research led by Cornell University, in conjunction with the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Leaders call for 'Moonshot' on nutrition research
Leading nutrition and food policy experts outline a bold case for strengthening federal nutrition research in a live interactive session as part of NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

Featured research from NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE
Press materials are now available for NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a dynamic virtual event showcasing new research findings and timely discussions on food and nutrition.

Diet, nutrition have profound effects on gut microbiome
A new literature review from scientists at George Washington University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology suggests that nutrition and diet have a profound impact on the microbial composition of the gut.

Are women getting adequate nutrition during preconception and pregnancy?
In a Maternal & Child Nutrition analysis of published studies on the dietary habits of women who were trying to conceive or were pregnant, most studies indicated that women do not meet nutritional recommendations for vegetable, cereal grain, or folate intake.

Supermarkets and child nutrition in Africa
Hunger and undernutrition are widespread problems in Africa. At the same time, overweight, obesity, and related chronic diseases are also on the rise.

Read More: Nutrition News and Nutrition Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to