Future Challenges In Nutrition: One Dietician's Perspective
Regarding the challenges for nutrition in the years ahead, it’s not what next fad diet we’ll be following that most interests and concerns me but the ‘bigger picture’. I’ve chosen my top three.
30th June 2017
Written by Ciara Hogan
Nutrition is always a hot topic, but what makes the news, often disappoints in terms of scientific credibility.
Read below as Ciara Hogan discusses her fears for the future surrounding nutrition and how this may affect Dietician Jobs.
First, I’d like to address global warming and climate change. Our warming planet will have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of the most vulnerable, reduce the nutritional value of our food and result in reduced food security across the world. Tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.
One double-win for the environment and our health is shifting towards more sustainable diets. For instance, the livestock industry is one of the most significant causes of global warming, generating one fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing our meat intake to three times per week has the potential to save 45,000 lives and £1.2bn in NHS costs each year.
The second challenge I see is the ongoing obesity epidemic that governments across the world are struggling to address. Increased obesity is leading to uncontrollable healthcare costs associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and disability. Our food environment is failing us.
The food industry offers an abundance of poor food choices at an alarmingly low cost. Investors line their pockets with profits, leaving us sick and our government with a hefty healthcare bill.
Sheer individual will-power and education alone are not enough to prevent us from becoming obese in an environment where food is ubiquitous. We, as consumers, need to demand more from the food businesses and stand with our government to introduce strict legislation to reduce the sale and marketing of unhealthy foods.
Finally, the third challenge to address is dwindling breastfeeding rates across the country. The World Health Organisation has set a target that by 2025, 43% of women will exclusively breastfeed their child until 6 months of age.
Breastfeeding can help to address both the obesity epidemic and climate change crisis. By not breastfeeding our children, we prepare them for a 10% higher risk of obesity as adults. Furthermore, women who breastfeed protect their own health, they are at a lower risk of breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.
We also unnecessarily contribute to global warming by using infant formula. Every 1kg of infant formula milk produces 4kg of greenhouse gases.
Breastfeeding deserves to be cherished by society for the positive impact it has on children’s health, women’s health and its role in safeguarding our environment for future generations.