Food and Public Health
Tim Lang

Centre for Food Policy, City University London, UK
e: t.lang@city.ac.uk

Paper to Sustain...
Global picture
• CVD caused 17 m deaths in 2008
– 30% of all deaths
– 50% of NCD deaths

• Behavioural risk factors = c80%...
WHO Global Burden of Disease (2010)
http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf
...
Q: Is this worth tackling?

A: Yes (even more in some regions than others)

4
Costs

5
EPIC estimates for economic losses
from NCDs in 2011-30
Estimated losses
In 2011-2030 NCDs will
cause global economic
loss...
EPIC estimated losses 2011-30,
by NCD 4 categories & by country income
source: Abegunde & Stanciole for WHO 2006 / Harvard...
Global costs estimated
Harvard & WEF (2011)
www.weforum.org/EconomicsOfNCD

• 2010-30 NCDs estimated to cost US $30 trilli...
UK food-related disease
• Food-related diseases (cardiovascular
diseases, cancers, diabetes) account for 125k premature
(<...
What would the food system look like if
designed around ecological public health?
• More horticulture
– UCS study: if US a...
Q: Why invest in food & nutrition?
• It saves lives and money + better quality of life
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/...
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Tim lang

  1. 1. Food and Public Health Tim Lang Centre for Food Policy, City University London, UK e: t.lang@city.ac.uk Paper to Sustainable Food Trust ‘Truce-Cost Accounting in Food and Farming conference, held at the Royal Geographical Society, London on December 6 2013 1
  2. 2. Global picture • CVD caused 17 m deaths in 2008 – 30% of all deaths – 50% of NCD deaths • Behavioural risk factors = c80% of CVD burden – physical inactivity, tobacco and unhealthy diet (Gaziano, Bitton, Anand, Abrahams-Gessel & Murphy, 2010) • Wider picture well-known = Nutrition Transition: – dietary change, urbanisation, cultural change, marketing, sedentary lifestyles – Sugar, salt, fat, processed foods 2
  3. 3. WHO Global Burden of Disease (2010) http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf • Calculated disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) • 19 leading risk factors account for 58.8 m deaths in 2004 • Food = 10 / 19 3
  4. 4. Q: Is this worth tackling? A: Yes (even more in some regions than others) 4
  5. 5. Costs 5
  6. 6. EPIC estimates for economic losses from NCDs in 2011-30 Estimated losses In 2011-2030 NCDs will cause global economic losses: • Diabetes: $1.7 trn • CVD: $15.6 trn • Cancer: $8.3 trn …as comparison… In 2009: • Total global healthcare expenditure was $5.1 trn • Entire annual GDP of low income countries was approx $1 trn 6
  7. 7. EPIC estimated losses 2011-30, by NCD 4 categories & by country income source: Abegunde & Stanciole for WHO 2006 / Harvard& WEF 7
  8. 8. Global costs estimated Harvard & WEF (2011) www.weforum.org/EconomicsOfNCD • 2010-30 NCDs estimated to cost US $30 trillion + = 48% of global GDP in 2010 – will push millions of people below poverty line • Prevention (alcohol, tobacco, diet, exercise) can work: – Would cost $2 bn p.a. for low/middle income countries = $0.40 per cap p.a. 8
  9. 9. UK food-related disease • Food-related diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes) account for 125k premature (<75yrs) deaths p.a. • Chief Scientist’s Foresight Obesity report (2007): – obesity’s actual costs in 2002 = c £7 billion • This is about 2/3 of all premature deaths http://www.bhf.org.uk/research/heart-statistics.aspx • 30k of these deaths could be delayed or averted if UK dietary guidelines were met J Epidemiol Community Health 2010, doi:10.1136/jech.2010.114520 • Diet and physical inactivity account for 14% of UK DALYs in 2010 (Tobacco accounts for 12%). www.thelancet.com Vol 381 March 23, 2013 • Food-related ill health costs UK NHS at least £6 billion p.a. J Public Health 2011, doi: 10.1093 /pubmed /fdr033 9
  10. 10. What would the food system look like if designed around ecological public health? • More horticulture – UCS study: if US agric followed the plate +180k jobs • Less meat and dairy agriculture? – Less grain-fed meat / dairy? (c.50% grain animals) • Different price signals (some internalised costs) • Different food culture (biodiversity isn’t costed) • Different signals eg marketing vs health 10
  11. 11. Q: Why invest in food & nutrition? • It saves lives and money + better quality of life http://siteresources.worldbank.org/NUTRITION/Resources/281846-1131636806329/NutritionStrategyCh1.pdf • High burden in rich countries • low/middle income countries will overtake • The ‘financialisation’ debate is now changing – well-being / ‘better life’ indicators: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/ • Cost studies consistently show heavy costs from poor diet-related ill-health, – Yet prevention investment doesn’t happen 11
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