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WWB WATCH: World Scientist, Physicians and Public Health Leaders Unite in Call to Action for a Radical Food System Change. Why it Matters to You…

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I have been quoting Plato for a number of years here at Word Wise Beauty “ The Part Can Never Be Well, Unless the Whole is Well.” because there is great wisdom in these words and it really applies to everything. It most certainly applies to the update I am sharing today. Sometimes a research paper or news report will be released, and then quickly picked up by the media and reduced to sound-bites. Other times there are important news stories in wellness culture that get over-looked or missed. We also tend to focus on one topic obsessively. When we focus myopically on one topic like ‘diet’, we often miss the context and deeper insights that really matter to our health and well-being.

Let’s get right to the headline for this post. Not sure if you saw much of this in the news, and this is an example of important news that receives a ‘drive by’ from the media. I did find one short story picked up from the Associated Press from ABC News who covered it. Before I share their headline, let me share basic information with you. Some of you might be wondering what exactly is the G7 Ministers Health Meeting? This year it was held November 5-6 in Milan, Italy and the following is a description of the international meetings mission. Below the description, I am sharing the ABC news piece, and then we will get into why this story matters to you personally.

 G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting is one of the ministerial meetings which brings together the Health Ministers from G7 (Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and the European Commission to exchange views and form a consensus on a variety of health issues which the international society is facing.

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G-7 health ministers: climatic factors impact health

Italys Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin, talks during the final press conference at the G7 Health Ministerial Meeting in Milan, Italy, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
The Associated Press
Italy’s Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin, talks during the final press conference at the G7 Health Ministerial Meeting in Milan, Italy, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Group of Seven health ministers have issued a joint statement that says climatic factors impact on human health.

Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin told reporters on Monday that the ministers were able to work out wording acceptable to the United States during their ministerial meeting in Milan, while also recognizing the differences in opinion in light of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accords.

Lorenzin called it “a great political work” to arrive at a document that recalls the U.S. position on climate change “and yet accepts the impact of climatic factors on people’s health.”

The final declaration states that “climate and environmental-related factors can aggravate existing health risks and create new threats,” and discussed the need to raise awareness of the impact of such factors on health.

 

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You can see why this matters to you, but the headline and the coverage by ABC is still a bit general. There are some new stories out there regarding the 2017 G7 Health meeting that focus on the U.S and our President’s stance on climate change, but they are political angles. At World Wise Beauty we are specifically focused on our personal health and ideals for wellness culture.

I have frequently shared with you a link to the True Health Initiative (THI) an organization which aims to be the global voice for lifestyle as medicine. Their main mission is to make evidence based fundamental truths about healthy, sustainable living, and eating common knowledge. This is no easy task, as we have spent many a post here at World Wise Beauty talking about the power of marketers muddling the health narrative for all of us. THI is supported by a growing coalition of more than 400 experts including physicians, scientists, nutritionists, educators and authors from more than 37 countries.

So, why am I mentioning this organization again? Because they are doing such important work for you and I. The President of THI Dr. David Katz (Q&A featuring his book can be found here at WWB) and another mission oriented doctor from Cambridge, Dr. Simon Poole (also featured with Q&A on his book and a star presenter at a recent Rise of Wise event founded by truly herself) penned a compelling letter to Ms. Beatrice Lorenzin, Chair of the 2017 G7 Health Ministers Meeting. After viewing the ABC news headline, you can see this letter was quite effective. Things are looking positive!

The THI shared the letter’s content with select media outlets, and following are excerpts of some the powerful directives they requested to be seriously reviewed and acted on. The letter was sent prior to the G7 meeting with many signatures of support from health experts from around the world.

 

               

WORLDWIDE CALL TO ACTION: 

Actionable policies and directives including, but not limited to, a long term and integrated approach to ensure safe and sustainable food systems, economic measures to reverse the growing dependency on highly processed and unhealthy foods and a significant new investment in nutrition education.

EXCERPTS from the True Health Initiative’s Letter

The Burden of Preventable Chronic Disease

 “It is widely accepted that there is an urgent need to address the global inexorable increase in lifestyle related chronic diseases. Many of these conditions, blighting the lives of many millions of people through out the world, are preventable through improved nutrition.”

“In recent years there have been numerous scientific reports calling for action to reverse the growing burden to individuals and society of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancers, hypertension and diabetes, yet we fail to see improvements in outcome, and a concerted and integrated, rather than piecemeal approach to public health policy.

Modern Diets Imperil our Environment

 “Evidence shows that are industrial food systems and heavily processed diets are directly linked not only to poor health, but also to the degeneration of the environment, climate change and diminished bio-diversity. Studies estimate that adoption of more sustainable diets could reduce related greenhouse gas admissions by as much as 80% and reduce water usage by 50% as well as reducing all-cause mortality.”

An Emerging Scientific Consensus

“With strikingly similarity to the accord amongst scientist on matters related to climate change, there is now broad agreement on what constitutes a healthy and sustainable diet and lifestyle. A coalition of world renowned experts in the fields of medicine, science, and the media characterizes the healthiest diets as those comprised of minimally processed, generally plant predominant foods in balanced combinations, for example the traditional diets of Mediterranean and certain Asian Diets.”

3 URGENT & SPECIFIC ACTIONS NEEDED FROM THE G7 MINISTERS OF HEALTH

“We call upon the Ministers of Health of the G7 Countries to deliver the following.” ~THI

1. Policies which recognize the need for a long term and integrated approach to ensure safe and sustainable food systems, acknowledging the evidence for the health and environmental benefits of local, traditional ways of production and preparation. There is an immediate need to begin this journey through Commissions specifically designed to consider independent evidence on issues of public health, agriculture and the environment. These bodies must be willing to hear sometimes uncomfortable truths from scientific witnesses calling for radical change in the way in which we value and understand food production and consumption.

2. Robust and resolute economic measures to support the production and sale of more healthy food – including financial incentivisation and taxation where necessary, which will encourage investment in viable alternatives to current production and marketing practices, making access to healthy foods more available and affordable.

3. Significant investment in nutrition education – although “food literacy” should not be confined to children, it should be the right of every child to be taught a much broader understanding of basic nutritional principles, techniques of preparing healthy food, the impact of diet on health, as well as providing access to the evidence of the environmental consequences of dietary choice. Access to appropriate education as part of the curriculum of schools and colleges is an immediate priority which needs to be addressed through government policies.

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What Matters? Sustainable food systems and production because our health and wellness depends on it, and the planet earth we live on can only sustain so much more abuse before it breaks down. If you have children or grandchildren, this is an issue that should matter greatly, because their future is in great peril if they don’t have their health or a healthy planet to live on. This is pretty cut and dry and it is why we need governments around the world to focus on nutrition, health and the climate simultaneously . In the meantime ask your elected officials to take these issues very seriously, and be assured that your own dietary habits and actions can improve your personal health and the climate crisis we are facing significantly.

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Laura Connolly, Founder of World Wise Beauty & Rise of Wise presents…

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