When it comes to health, modern society faces a dichotomy: on the one hand, nearly one billion people still suffer from hunger and malnutrition, while on the other hand the Western diet, lifestyle and environment are driving a surge in obesity and diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular ailments and cancers.
But according to a special feature in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, these health concerns cannot be addressed in a vacuum by the health system alone. The eleven articles of the July 31 edition provide perspectives, research and case studies that bring together the paths of health, economy and agriculture. The focus is on integrating smallholder farmers into national and global food systems, value chains and markets, and health systems.
Introducing the theme and the rest of the articles in the issue, Laurette Dube, Praghu Pingali and Patrick Webb call for a broader “solution-oriented” approach to science, policies and on-the-ground actions, cutting across disciplines. This includes making use of the private sector to reduce hunger and poverty, while also curbing the spread of noncommunicable chronic diseases. The authors argue for a development paradigm that fosters common interests among multiple sectors to strengthen urban-rural links and support innovation, policies and institutions that promote healthy lifestyles and environments.
Read the introductory article online.