Food and health

Measuring food and health

Ways of measuring disparities in food and health between places

  • Global patterns in food/nutrition indicators, including the food security index, the hunger index, calories per person/capita, indicators of malnutrition
  • The nutrition transition, and associated regional variations of food consumption and nutrition choices
  • Global patterns in health indicators, including health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE), infant mortality, maternal mortality, access to sanitation and the ratio between doctors/physicians and people
  • The epidemiological transition, the diseases continuum (diseases of poverty to diseases of affluence), and the implications of a global ageing population for disease burden

Food systems and spread of diseases

How physical and human processes lead to changes in food production and consumption, and incidence and spread of disease

  • The merits of a systems approach (inputs, stores, transfers, outputs) to compare energy efficiency and water footprints in food production, and relative sustainability in different places
  • The physical and human processes that can lead to variations in food consumption
  • The importance of diffusion (including adoption/acquisition, expansion, relocation) in the spread of agricultural innovations, and also in the spread of diseases, and the role of geographic factors (including physical, economic and political barriers) in the rate of diffusion
  • Geographic factors contributing to the incidence, diffusion and impacts (demographic and socio-economic) of vector-borne and water-borne diseases

One detailed example of a vector-borne disease and one detailed example of a water-borne disease

Stakeholders in food and health

The power of different stakeholders in relation to influence over diets and health

  • The roles of international organizations (such as the World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and World Health Organization), governments and NGOs in combating food insecurity and disease
  • The influence of TNCs (agribusinesses and the media) in shaping food consumption habits
  • Gender roles related to food and health, including food production/acquisition and disparities in health
  • Factors affecting the severity of famine, including governance, the power of the media and access to international aid

One case study of the issues affecting a famine-stricken country or area

Future health and food security and sustainability

Future possibilities for sustainable agriculture and improved health

  • Possible solutions to food insecurity, including waste reduction

One case study of attempts to tackle food insecurity

  • Advantages and disadvantages of contemporary approaches to food production, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), vertical farming and in vitro meat
  • The merits of prevention and treatment in managing disease, including social marginalization issues, government priorities, means of infection and scientific intervention
  • Managing pandemics, including the epidemiology of the disease, prior local and global awareness, international action and the role of media

One case study of a contemporary pandemic and the lessons learned for pandemic management in the future

Synthesis (Sy), Evaluation (Ev) and Skills (Sk) opportunities

  • The spatial interaction between geographies of health and food/nutrition [Sy]
  • Contrasts in the scale of causes and solutions to food and health challenges [Sy/Ev]
  • Perspectives of stakeholders on the priorities for health care and food security [Ev]
  • How patterns in health and the diffusion of disease can be represented graphically

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