GLOBAL – World food production will need to increase by 50 percent to overcome present shortages and meet the needs of the growing population – predicted to reach almost 10 billion by 2050.
This is according to the study findings of a new comprehensive 12-month review literature on climate change and healthy diets published in the Annual Review of Public Health.
According to the findings, it will be possible to produce enough food to maintain adequate intakes for the time being by using improved farming practices and technology and more equity in distribution.
However, the report notes that climate change will substantially impact global food production and health if no action is taken by consumers, food industries, government and international bodies.
The study asserts that involvement from every level is needed to decrease the global burden on climate change while increasing nutrient intake.
“Some changes will need to be made to food production. Nutrient content will need monitoring, and more equitable distribution will be required to meet the proposed dietary guidelines,” says lead researcher Professor Colin Binns from the Curtin School of Population Health in Australia.
Simultaneously, political commitment and substantial investment could go some way to reduce the effects and help provide the foods needed to achieve the SDGs, he flags.
So far, industry and government have faced bumps in the road toward the mutual goal of a sustainable society.
For instance, despite positive advances in world nutrition rates, we are still facing the ongoing threat of climate change to our global food supply, with Sub-Saharan Africa and part of Asia most at risk, explains Binns.
A lot more thus needs to be done to overcome the adverse effects of climate change on the global food supply, if we are to be able to sustainably feed the world in the coming years.
Apart from calling on governments and institutions to do more to protect people from the harmful impacts of climate change and secure food security, the review also requires individuals to be part of the solutions.
It suggests that consumers should follow necessary dietary guidelines and choose foods with low environmental impacts.
It also proposes consuming fish, whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, berries and olive oil for personal health and the planet’s health.
“It will also be important to increase breastfeeding rates to improve infant and adult health while helping to reduce greenhouse gases and benefit the environment,” the report advices.
According to Binn, the measures would “improve health, help reduce greenhouse gases and meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which in turn would improve food production levels in the future.”
Binns concluded by saying that ongoing research will be vital to assessing the long-term impacts of climate change on food supply and health in order to adequately prepare for the future.
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