The role of farming and rural development as central to our diets

Fanzo, Jessica C.

Farming and rural development are central to the diversity of global food systems and diets, both significant factors in determining the nutrition and health outcomes of the world's population. Diets are not static and indeed are changing due to globalization, urbanization and demographic shifts. In addition, multiple burdens of malnutrition (both undernutrition and overweight and obesity) are not improving fast enough and in some cases, reversing for the worse. Unhealthy diets are major contributors to these burdens. Rural people and particularly smallholder farmers, are critical in delivering the key nutrients in the global food supply that make up our diets for human health. However, rural populations in some parts of the world are often poor, and suffer burdens of malnutrition on both ends of the spectrum – undernourished or overweight. They are also faced with significant challenges, often due to poor investment towards rural development. Challenges include natural resource declines, climate change risk, women disempowerment, conflict, and urbanization; which wreak havoc on these populations. If actions are not taken and their livelihoods are not prioritized, it will be a challenge to achieve sustainable development in these rural places that are so essential for future food systems.


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Physiology & Behavior

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Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
February 7, 2024