Here is how Carlos Monteiro and Geoffrey Cannon introduce their renewed commentaries starting this month in World Nutrition:
The big issue for nutrition
This commentary continues the series begun in WN. The overall theme of the series is the global industrial food system, its significance, and its impact on dietary patterns, health and well-being, food culture, public policies, society, economies, the environment, and the biosphere, in the past, now, and for this century.
Our thesis uses a wholly new food classification. This replaces divisions into nutrients or food groups. We identify processing as the crucial dietary determinant of diet quality, risk of disease, and prospects of good health and well-being. Our group 1 is of fresh and minimally processed foods, and group 2 is of processed culinary ingredients. Together, these are made into meals, as symbolised by the cooking pot above. Group 3 is of ready-to-consume highly processed and ultra- processed products, as symbolised by the cheese-bacon-burger above.
Carlos and Geoffrey begin their commentary this month by stating: 'Reformulation of processed food and drink products, in order to prevent and control obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases, is a prime policy priority and a good reason to partner with industry, and will significantly improve population health. This is the practically unanimous and consistent view of relevant legislators, UN and other international agency and national government officials, and leaders of influential organisations working in the public interest. It is also the stated position of the leading transnational manufacturers of such products, who have taken a lead in initiating and setting agenda for the 'public-private partnerships' designed to shape international food and nutrition policies. We do not agree. As now devised, product reformulation is not part of the public health solution. To the contrary, it is creating a new public health problem'.
So now, read on!
Our new members
New members from different generations and continents: Simon Capewell, Gabriela Rueda, Ravi Joshi, Emilia Sanabria, Rafael Claro, Nadia Slimani
Yes, no doubt you will have seen the pictures of these new members already, on the home page this month. There is though, some more to say. First is to congratulate Isabela Sattamini for the super job she is doing as assistant membership secretary. She is still in process of contacting all our members, explaining what we need from them as profiles, encouraging them to write to our style, and yes, chasing some members for their words and the picture of them. Members, don't be shy please!
The Association can only be as useful and effective as are its members and most of all its active members. This was a lesson of our Rio2012 conference at the end of April this year. Here are three examples, from the six members above. Simon Capewell from the United Kingdom (on the left), is one of the rare senior medical scientists who is now also an activist determined to improve public health. He played a leading part in the conference's discussions on conflicts of interest between sectors of the food and drink industry and public health imperatives.
Ravinda Joshi (third from left) who works in the Solomon Islands, talked with great knowledge, wisdom – and enthusiasm – on how to create healthy sustainable food systems in miniature, on the islands, some very small, that he serves. A story of his work in his words, goes like this, He writes of 'The blueprint to address food and nutrition security in small outer islands across Pacific island countries and territories that face the consequences of climate change, family food and nutrition insecurity and loss of biodiversity'. He explains that this 'was developed from the Kwai Island organic farming model for family food and nutrition security...Kwai Island is a tiny dot off the east coastline of Malaita, one of the Solomon Islands. The people of Kwai generally live on seafoods and root crops. This model is now widely known around the Pacific. It was costly for islanders to procure vegetables and fruits from the mainland. Their sandy soils hinder the crop growth. We introduced 'Sup-Sup' home organic gardening. This facilitates proper waste segregation and island sanitation as well as successful local organic production of fruits and vegetables of various colours. It is a simple approach that has allowed Kwai Islanders access to 'rainbow-coloured' nutritious diverse organically grown foods. This small change has impacted greatly on the lives of the Kwai Islanders and has become a success story for other small outer islands across the Pacific. We aim to be able to disseminate this information and reproduce the system in other Solomon islands and in nearby Pacific countries'.
And Nadia Slimani (right), a senior official at the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, was seen at Rio in animated conversation with Carlos Monteiro, on the big issue of food processing as a determinant of the risk of disease and the chance of well-being. All very inspiring.
Seva Khambadbone (left). In the other picture is Paul Farmer (at right) seen with Rwandan minister of health Agnes Binagwaho and visiting dignatories
One of the best ideas of our editorial team has been the creation of our 'I get around' home page feature, in which Association members write about their work, experiences and ideas as they – get around. The idea also is to encourage members and other readers to know that they are not alone, especially when they encounter problems and frustrations. Up to this month we have featured Vivica Kraak from the US, writing from Rio; Jean-Claude Moubarac from Canada, now working in São Paulo; and Mayya Husseini from Greece, writing from Barcelona. This month it is Seva Khambadkone from the US (seen in the left-hand picture above) writing about visiting her grandparents' home in India, and telling about her work for Nyaya Health in Achham, Nepal.
As from this autumn Seva will be in Nicaragua; she will be working in and for remote rural communities, and her next piece, due in December, will tell of her experiences there. Nyaya Health (http://www.nyayahealth.org/) is associated with Partners in Health, of which a founder is the astounding radical public health pioneer Paul Farmer. This has given us an excuse to run the right-hand picture above, taken from the Partners in Health website (www.pih.org). This shows the man himself, on the right hand side of the picture, with (from left) in Rwanda in July. From left is Lawrence Shulman of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda's minister of health, and yes Chelsea and Bill Clinton, and stock car racer. They are celebrating and publicising the opening of Butaro cancer centre in rural Rwanda.
Which gives us a thought. Since Seva gets around to so many places, and will be meeting Paul Farmer in Nicaragua – at least, we believe so – maybe she could let us know how to get President Obama to open Delhi2016, our next conference, in her ancestral country …