Allison Aubrey, July 17, 2019
NPR – If everyone around the globe began to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, there wouldn’t be enough to go around.
That’s the conclusion of a new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
Currently, only about 55% of people around the globe live in countries with adequate availability of fruits and vegetables – enough to meet the World Health Organization’s minimum target of 400 grams per person, per day.
With economic growth, presumably, production will expand.
But the researchers project that by 2050, an estimated 1.5 billion more people will live in places with insufficient supply – unless challenges such as food waste and improved productivity are solved.
The report comes at a time when poor diets are a leading cause of premature death. In fact, a recent study founddiets are now responsible for more deaths than smoking around the globe.
And it’s become increasingly clear that current dietary patterns are detrimental to the environment, too.
Recent studies, including the EAT-Lancet study and the Global Nutrition Report, have pointed to the need for a radical shift in the food system aimed at nudging people toward more nutritious and sustainable diets.
“Current diets are detrimental to both human and planetary health and shifting towards more balanced, predominantly plant-based diets is seen as crucial to improving both,” write the authors of the new Lancet Planetary Health study.
Currently, the global supply of calories is more than enough to meet consumption.
But many people eat poor-quality diets “characterized by cheap calories, highly processed foods and overconsumption,” the study concludes.
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