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The importance of diets for global

and U.S. human health


Jessica Fanzo, PhD
Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor
Director of the Global Food Policy & Ethics Program
Part 1:
Transitioning
Diets
1. Diets are calorically overloaded

Sources: Ranganathan, J. et al. 2016. “Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future.” Working Paper, Installment 11 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future.
Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. Accessible at http://www.worldresourcesreport.org; Theresa M Marteau et al. BMJ 2015;351:bmj.h5863
2. Diet trends are of varying quality

Sources: Development Initiatives, Global Nutrition Report 2018.


3. Diets are not affordable for many

Countries in which consumers spend less Countries in which consumers spend more
than 15% of income on food expenditures than 30% of income on food expenditures
Denmark Nigeria
Germany Kenya
Austria Cameroon
Australia Kazakhstan
Ireland Algeria
Canada Philippines
Switzerland Pakistan
United Kingdom Guatemala
Singapore Azerbaijan
USA Turkmenistan
0.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 8.0 10.0 12.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

% Share of Consumer Expenditures on Food % Share of Consumer Expenditures on Food

Source: UN HLPE 2017 Report on Nutrition and Food Systems; USDA


4. Diets are not sustainable
Animal based protein consumption Ruminants contribute ~50% of GHGe
is rising in many countries from ag production

Source: Ranganathan, J. et al. 2016. “Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future.” Working Paper, Installment 11 of Creating a
Sustainable Food Future. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. Accessible at http://www.worldresourcesreport.org
Part 2: The
implications
of our diet
choices
Is America’s diet healthy?

Source: Development Initiatives, Global Nutrition Report 2018.


Diet contributions to mortality in the U.S.

United States, both sexes, all ages, 2017

Source: Global Burden of Disease, University of Washington 2019


What is the burden of malnutrition in the U.S.?

Source: Development Initiatives: 2018 Global Nutrition Report


2. The environmental effects of our diets are
having their toll now and into the future

Environmental effects in 2010 and 2050 by


food groups on various Earth systems based
on BAU projections for consumption and
production

Source: Springmann, M., Clark, M., Mason-D’Croz, D., Wiebe, K., Bodirsky, B.L., Lassaletta, L., De Vries, W., Vermeulen, S.J., Herrero, M., Carlson, K.M., Jonell, M., Troell, M., DeClerck, F.,
Gordon, L.J., Zurayk, R., Scarborough, P., Rayner, M., Loken, B., Fanzo, J., Godfray, H.C.J., Tilman, D., Rockström, J., Willett, W., n.d. Options for keeping the food system within
environmental limits. Nature. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0594-0
Is America’s diet sustainable?

Source: EAT Lancet Commission Report Lancet January 2019


3. Inequities become more clear
Limiting ruminant meat consumption to 52 calories/person/day in all regions reduces the GHG mitigation gap by half and closes the land gap

Beef “consumption” (g/capita/day) measured in the food supply

Source: FAO Stat 2018; GlobAgri model with source data from FAO, depicted by Ranganathan et al. 2016. Width of bars represents region’s
population; WRI Creating a Sustainable Food Futures 2018 Report
Is America’s diets equitable?
Property value Healthy eating index

• Higher socioeconomic status has


been linked with higher-quality diets.

• The study examined the geographic


distribution of a measure
of diet quality, also known as
the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) in
relation to residential property values
in the city of Seattle.

• Residential property values,


education, and incomes were
associated with higher HEI scores.

Source: Drewnowski, A., Aggarwal, A., Cook, A., Stewart, O. and Moudon, A.V., 2016. Geographic disparities in healthy eating index scores
(HEI–2005 and 2010) by residential property values: findings from Seattle obesity study (SOS). Preventive medicine, 83, pp.46-55.
Where to
implement to
promote healthy
diets

Source: DeBrauw et al IFPRI 2019


Options for keeping the food system within
environmental limits

Dietary, technological change on


farms, and reductions in food loss
and waste are critical to reduce
environmental impacts of our food
system on the planet.

Source: Springmann, M., Clark, M., Mason-D’Croz, D., Wiebe, K., Bodirsky, B.L., Lassaletta, L., De Vries, W., Vermeulen, S.J., Herrero, M., Carlson, K.M., Jonell, M., Troell, M., DeClerck, F.,
Gordon, L.J., Zurayk, R., Scarborough, P., Rayner, M., Loken, B., Fanzo, J., Godfray, H.C.J., Tilman, D., Rockström, J., Willett, W., n.d. Options for keeping the food system within
environmental limits. Nature. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0594-0.
Price, quality, and taste
are important to consumers

Source: The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey https://foodinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-FHS-Report-FINAL.pdf
Sustainable Alternatives & Reformulations
Thank you!

@jessfanzo