Bringing Agriculture to the Table: How Agriculture and Food Policy can Play a Role in Preventing Chronic Disease

September 19, 2011

By: Dr. Rachel Nugent, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Global Health, University of Washington; Expert Advisory Group

Launched in February 2011, The Chicago Council’s Healthy Agriculture, Food, and Non-Communicable Diseases project explores the relationship between agriculture, food, and the global rise in nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). A report, Bringing Agriculture to the Table: How Agriculture and Food Policy can Play a Role in Preventing Chronic Disease, was released September 19, 2011, in advance of the High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. The report calls on the agriculture and food sectors to play a role in mitigating the global rise in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and identifies new opportunities for those in health and agriculture to work together to promote better health.

The report was prepared by Dr. Rachel Nugent, senior research scientist with the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health and project chair for the Chicago Council. The project was guided by an advisory group of noted agriculture and health experts from academia, international organizations, and the private sector.

Health solutions to prevent NCDs have traditionally left out the agriculture and food sector. The project examines incentives and practical opportunities for governments, the private sector, and other relevant agriculture and food stakeholders to contribute to curbing the current and predicted rise in heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and diet-related cancers. Special attention is paid to approaches that balance development, agriculture, health, and economic objectives. The scope of the project report is global, but highlights low- and middle-income countries, home to the greatest number of people affected by NCDs today and where increases are projected for the future. The report points out that the global food system has evolved over the past century to deliver a number of benefits, but it asserts that agriculture must offer consumers a better mix of less-processed and culturally appropriate items that constitute a healthy diet.

Partial funding for the Healthy Agriculture, Food, and Non-Communicable Diseases Project project has been generously provided by PepsiCo.

Bringing Agriculture to the Table: How Agriculture and Food Policy can Play a Role in Preventing Chronic Disease

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