Sustainability and food systems concepts in dietetic training standards in speaking Spanish countries (2023)

Carvajal Useche KC, Rangel Palacio N, Carlsson L. Sustainability and food systems concepts in dietetic training standards in speaking Spanish countries. Rev Esp Nutr Hum Diet. 2023; 27(4): 315-24. doi: https://doi.org/10.14306/renhyd.27.4.1939 (open source)

Follow the link to read the full article in both Spanish and English.

Key Messages

  • Four Spanish-speaking nations include at least partial coverage of sustainable food systems dimensions in their dietetic training and practice standards: Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. This is 66% of those for which standards exist, and similar to international content.
  • Mexican and Peruvian standards require robust commitment to social and environmental sustainability in practice (values). Mexican education is guided by relatively low level of cognitive complexity (knowledge of, “understand”); Peruvian practice standards required a higher level (up to “create”).
  • The standards in Paraguay and Colombia contribute to food systems sustainability competence through primarily food and nutrition security-related standards, concepts inseparable from sustainable food systems. Colombia explicitly recognizes the purview of nutritionists as throughout food systems (production to consumption).
  • Opportunities exist for increasing the focus on food systems sustainability as a guiding paradigm for food and nutrition work, in the context of urgent global priorities to climate change and sustainable development.

Abstract

Introduction: Global calls for action to support sustainable development through food systems and nutrition provide context to examine to what degree nutrition and dietetics professionals are equipped for this challenge. The purpose of this research is to investigate content related to sustainable food systems in training standards from Spanish-speaking countries and examine what level of knowledge is required.

Methodology: Researchers conducted a content analysis of documents informing nutrition and dietetics training standards for content related to sustainable food systems, including dimensions of these complex topics. Relevant content was then analyzed according to the level of cognitive complexity per Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy.

Results: Of 21 eligible countries, documents describing competencies, standards or codes of ethics were found for six, four of which included relevant standards: Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, and Peru. Overall, there was minimal comprehensive inclusion of sustainable food systems, but partial inclusion of one or more important sustainability dimensions. These were required at a mix of levels of cognitive complexity.

Conclusions: This research adds to a small body of evidence documenting the state of readiness of nutrition and dietetics professionals to contribute to sustainable development. It highlights a moderate level of readiness in four Spanish-speaking countries, and opportunities for increased emphasis on comprehensive sustainability-informed education and training standards, which can help prepare practitioners for effective practice.

Funding: MITACS Global Research Internship.

Recipe for a Livable Planet: Achieving Net Zero Emissions in the Agrifood System (2024)

Sutton, William R.; Lotsch, Alexander; Prasann, Ashesh. 2024. Recipe for a Livable Planet: Achieving Net Zero Emissions in the Agrifood System. © Washington, DC: World Bank. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/41468  License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.

Abstract

The global agrifood system has been largely overlooked in the fight against climate change. Yet, greenhouse gas emissions from the agrifood system are so big that they alone could cause the world to miss the goal of keeping global average temperatures from rising above 1.5 centigrade compared to preindustrial levels. Greenhouse gas emissions from agrifood must be cut to net zero by 2050 to achieve this goal.

Recipe for a Livable Planet: Achieving Net Zero Emissions in the Agrifood System offers the first comprehensive global strategic framework to mitigate the agrifood system’s contributions to climate change, detailing affordable and readily available measures that can cut nearly a third of the world’s planet heating emissions while ensuring global food security.

These actions, which are urgently needed, offer three additional benefits: improving food supply reliability, strengthening the global food system’s resilience to climate change, and safeguarding vulnerable populations.

This practical guide outlines global actions and specific steps that countries at all income levels can take starting now, focusing on six key areas: investments, incentives, information, innovation, institutions, and inclusion.

Calling for collaboration among governments, businesses, citizens, and international organizations, it maps a pathway to making agrifood a significant contributor to addressing climate change and healing the planet.

Can agroecology improve food security and nutrition? A review (2021)

Bezner Kerr, R., Madsen, S., Stüber, M., Liebert, J., Mazibuko, H., Funnel, K., … & Wezel, A. (2021). Can agroecology improve food security and nutrition? A review. Global Food Security, 29, 100540. (paid access)

Highlights

  • 56 agroecology studies had evidence for food security & nutrition (FSN) outcomes.
  • 78% of studies showed positive FSN outcomes from agroecological practices.
  • Key agroecological practices are crop diversity, organic soil amendments, and agroforestry.
  • Farmer networks and attention to social equity dimensions were important.
  • Increased complexity of agroecological system more positively associated with FSN.

Abstract

Agroecology increasingly has gained scientific and policy recognition as having potential to address environmental and social issues within food production, but concerns have been raised about its implications for food security and nutrition, particularly in low-income countries.

This review paper examines recent evidence (1998–2019) for whether agroecological practices can improve human food security and nutrition. A total of 11,771 articles were screened by abstract and title, 275 articles included for full review, with 56 articles (55 cases) selected.

A majority of studies (78%) found evidence of positive outcomes in the use of agroecological practices on food security and nutrition of households in low and middle-income countries. Agroecological practices included crop diversification, intercropping, agroforestry, integrating crop and livestock, and soil management measures.

More complex agroecological systems, that included multiple components (e.g., crop diversification, mixed crop-livestock systems and farmer-to-farmer networks) were more likely to have positive food security and nutrition outcomes.

Next-generation solutions to address adaptive challenges in dietetics practice: the I+PSE conceptual framework for action (2022)

Tagtow A, Herman D, Cunningham-Sabo L. Next-generation solutions to address adaptive challenges in dietetics practice: the I+PSE conceptual framework for action. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2022; 122(1): 15-24.

This article focuses on Applications for Professional Practice. The following is taken from the introduction to the article:

“It describes the Individual plus Policy, System, and Environmental (I+PSE) Conceptual Framework for Action (known as the “Framework”) as a roadmap for RDNs across all areas of practice (eg, research, education, clinical, community, and management) to better address adaptive challenges and to formulate multidimensional strategies for optimal impact. The Framework has cross-cutting practice implications for all areas of dietetics practice and can lead to the next generation of solutions to tackle adaptive challenges that better support nutrition and health.

The I+PSE Conceptual Framework for Action (see Figure) is a blueprint for RDNs and their partners to develop and implement multidimensional strategies using a systems orientation to achieve greater responsiveness to adaptive challenges and realize greater impacts.

  • Phase 1 –
    • Once an adaptive challenge is identified, RDNs can apply a determinants of health lens (Figure, phase 1) to closely examine nutrition and health problems and better identify why problems are worsening despite best efforts to solve them. The result of this focused assessment is a stronger diagnosis of the root causes that supports strategic decision-making in phase 2.
  • Phase 2 –
    • Is the formation of coordinated multidimensional strategies that produce a sustainable and synergistic effect.
  • Phase 3 –
    • Is the evaluation of outcomes and impacts of the suite of strategies and the degree to which change has occurred at the individual, practice, program, organizational, policy, and population levels. Encircling the Framework is systems thinking and reflection to support an iterative cycle of robust assessment, planning, implementation, and impact evaluation. The Framework is versatile and can be adapted to a wide range of nutrition issues, areas of dietetics practice, and diverse partnerships.”

Sustainable Food Systems Network (EUFIC)

European Food Information Council (EUFIC)‘s Global Sustainable Food Systems Network facilitates communication and collaboration amongst stakeholders in sustainable food systems (SFS) across the globe. In this community, you will find policy makers, business professionals, civil society organizations, researchers, NGOs/non-profit organizations, funding agencies and interested citizens. The network allows members to:

  • Add to and use the resources section
  • Reach out to members through the chat in a field/topic you are interested in. Network, ask questions, build bridges. Chat conversations are private and confidential!
  • Publish about events you are organizing regarding SFS (on average, 30-120 members attend events shared in the feed!)
  • Peruse the calendar of events shared by other members.
  • Share calls, documents, reports, papers, etc. that you think are interesting for the whole community.
  • Ask the community for feedback and start a conversation, e.g. by creating a poll!
  • Share job openings as “opportunities”. The network currently spans 2000+ people, and their personal networks spread much further.

The SFSN Community leaders send a biweekly newsletter with featured shared events, opportunities, posts, and new members for further dissemination.

If you have any feedback, questions or would like to get more involved, email sfsn@eufic.org or contact us directly through the chat (search Community Managers).

JHND Special Issue: Sustainable Food Systems and Dietary Patterns in Nutrition and Dietetic Practice (2023 Dec)

The British Dietetic Association’s Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (JHND) published a Special Issue on Sustainable Food Systems and Dietary Patterns in Nutrition and Dietetic Practice edited by: Liesel Carlsson, Angela Madden, and Kalliopi-Anna Poulia (Volume 36, Issue 6, Pages: 2121-2350, December 2023).

Twelve of the sixteen articles are open access and cover a wide range of practice settings.

  • Open Access – Conceptualising sustainability in Canadian dietetic practice: A scoping review – Dietitians are well-positioned to promote sustainable food systems and diets. This research identifies practice activities described in the Canadian published literature and compares these with dietetic competency standards. Increasing practitioners’ ability to analyse issues using systems thinking will help address complex challenges. Updates to competency standards and curricular supports are needed to support this area of practice.
  • Open Access – Local food procurement by hospitals: a scoping review – There is a paucity of peer-reviewed studies describing local food procurement by hospitals. Details of local food procurement models were generally lacking: categorisable as either purchases made ‘on-contract’ via conventional means or ‘off-contract’. If hospital foodservices are to increase their local food procurement, they require access to a suitable, reliable and traceable supply, that acknowledges their complexity and budgetary constraints.

From Plate To Planet (2023 Nov)

The IPES-Food report From Plate To Planet identifies inspiring examples of comprehensive food and climate action by city and regional governments drawn from Glasgow Declaration signatories. The report urges national governments to stop neglecting food systems in their climate pledges, and to pay attention to the pioneering emissions-slashing efforts of cities and regions.

Top line messages:

1 – We cannot limit global warming to 1.5C without much more urgent and far reaching action to transform food systems.

2 – Cities and regional governments are pioneering action on food and climate change – and the frontrunners are even linking up actions and measuring their progress. The report details dozens of inspiring examples and stories of effective on-the-ground action. They are cutting emissions by promoting healthy and sustainable diets, reducing food waste, shortening food chains, training organic farmers, and ensuring their poorest inhabitants can access healthy and sustainable food.

3 – Their actions to holistically reduce emissions from food systems and encourage healthy, sustainable food for all ​​provide a blueprint for action on food and climate. This blueprint is one in which social justice, participation, accountability are put at the heart of climate action.

4 – Such innovative action contrasts dramatically with weak and fragmented action on food and climate change by national governments – as shown by their inadequate national climate pledges submitted under the Paris Agreement [NDCs]. Despite contributing one third of global greenhouse gas emissions and using 15% of fossil fuels, food systems are routinely overlooked in climate negotiations and climate plans.

IPES-Food recommends:

  • National governments use the example of cities and regional governments as a blueprint for food and climate action – to inspire national food and climate policies.
  • Governments act in coordination with city and regional governments, and provide more funding to them to take action on food and climate change, scaling it out to every city and region.
  • Governments take the opportunity of the Paris Agreement stocktaking moment at COP28 to revise national climate commitments to systematically include food systems and local action.

WHY SHOULD WE PAY ATTENTION NOW?

  • Inspiring success stories show us what can and needs to be done
  • City and regional governments have continued to make progress in spite of mounting challenges
  • Local sustainable food strategies show a blueprint for climate action with accountability, social justice, and participation, at its heart
  • They’re working and they’re popular

FAST FACTS

Food systems are responsible for ⅓ of global greenhouse gas emissions:

  • 13% agriculture and livestock
  • 11% land-use change
  • 10% transport, processing, packaging, retail, and waste

Food system actions could drive major reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions:

  • 18% well-managed changes to production practices
  • 8% transitioning to sustainable diets and halving meat production and consumption
  • 8% halving food loss & waste

Local governments lead climate action

  • 18 national governments and the EU have declared a climate emergency, vs. 2,317 local and regional authorities.

Greenhouse gas emissions reductions committed by local and regional governments go 35% above and beyond those pledged by national governments.

Measurement of diets that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, affordable, and equitable: A scoping review of metrics, findings, and research gaps (2023 Apr)

Citation: Webb P, Livingston Staffier K, Lee H, Howell B, Battaglia K, Bell BM, Matteson J, McKeown NM, Cash SB, Zhang FF, Decker Sparks JL and Blackstone NT (2023) Measurement of diets that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, affordable, and equitable: A scoping review of metrics, findings, and research gaps. Front. Nutr. 10:1125955. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1125955

Introduction: Research on the impacts of dietary patterns on human and planetary health is a rapidly growing field. A wide range of metrics, datasets, and analytical techniques has been used to explore the role of dietary choices/constraints in driving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, environmental degradation, health and disease outcomes, and the affordability of food baskets. Many argue that each domain is important, but few have tackled all simultaneously in analyzing diet-outcome relationships.

Methods: This paper reviews studies published between January 2015 and December 2021 (inclusive) that examined dietary patterns in relation to at least two of the following four thematic pillars: (i) planetary health, including, climate change, environmental quality, and natural resource impacts, (ii) human health and disease, (iii) economic outcomes, including diet cost/affordability, and (iv) social outcomes, e.g., wages, working conditions, and culturally relevant diets. We systematically screened 2,425 publications by title and abstract and included data from 42 eligible publications in this review.

Results: Most dietary patterns used were statistically estimated or simulated rather than observed. A rising number of studies consider the cost/affordability of dietary scenarios in relation to optimized environmental and health outcomes. However, only six publications incorporate social sustainability outcomes, which represents an under-explored dimension of food system concerns.

Discussion: This review suggests a need for (i) transparency and clarity in datasets used and analytical methods; (ii) explicit integration of indicators and metrics linking social and economic issues to the commonly assessed diet-climate-planetary ecology relationships; (iii) inclusion of data and researchers from low- and middle-income countries; (iv) inclusion of processed food products to reflect the reality of consumer choices globally; and (v) attention to the implications of findings for policymakers. Better understanding is urgently needed on dietary impacts on all relevant human and planetary domains simultaneously.

The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2023.1125955/full#supplementary-material

*Correspondence: Patrick Webb, patrick.webb@tufts.edu

Sustainable healthy diets – Guiding principles (2019)

Acknowledging the existence of diverging views on the concepts of sustainable diets and healthy diets, countries have requested guidance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on what constitutes sustainable healthy diets. The two organisations jointly held an international expert consultation on Sustainable and Healthy Diets from 1 to 3 July 2019 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, to address these issues.

The Consultation agreed on guiding principles for what constitutes “Sustainable Healthy Diets”. This comes at a time when the debate around the sustainability of diets is high on the agenda of governments, international organisations, civil society organisations, the private sector and academia.

These guiding principles take a holistic approach to diets; they consider international nutrition recommendations; the environmental cost of food production and consumption; and the adaptability to local social, cultural and economic contexts. At the Consultation the experts agreed on the term “Sustainable Healthy Diets” which encompasses the two dimensions – sustainability and healthiness of diets. Countries should decide on the trade-offs according to their situations and goals.

These guiding principles emphasize the role of food consumption and diets in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs at country level, especially Goals 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 13 (Climate Action).

This publication on Sustainable Healthy Diets – Guiding principles (2019) aims to support the efforts of countries as they work to transform food systems to deliver on sustainable healthy diets.

Farm to Fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system (EU, 2020)

The Farm to Fork Strategy is part of the European Green Deal aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. Food systems cannot be resilient to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic if they are not sustainable. We need to redesign our food systems which today account for nearly one-third of global GHG emissions, consume large amounts of natural resources, result in biodiversity loss and negative health impacts (due to both under- and over-nutrition) and do not allow fair economic returns and livelihoods for all actors, in particular for primary producers. Putting our food systems on a sustainable path also brings new opportunities for operators in the food value chain. New technologies and scientific discoveries, combined with increasing public awareness and demand for sustainable food, will benefit all stakeholders.

The Farm to Fork Strategy aims to accelerate our transition to a sustainable food system that should:

  • have a neutral or positive environmental impact
  • help to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts
  • reverse the loss of biodiversity
  • ensure food security, nutrition and public health, making sure that everyone has access to sufficient, safe, nutritious, sustainable food
  • preserve affordability of food while generating fairer economic returns, fostering competitiveness of the EU supply sector and promoting fair trade