Tuesday, August 18, 2015
CHICAGO – Feeding a growing world population, especially in developing countries, will require advances in technology to support sustainable food systems and collaborations between the agriculture and food production industries, hunger relief professionals and health experts including registered dietitian nutritionists, according to two new articles in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The articles are online in advance of their publication in the Journal in coming months: "Linking Agriculture, Nutrition and Health: The Role of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist" and "Plentiful, Nutrient-Dense Food for the World: A Guide for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists."
Authors of the articles include Academy members and senior officials of the Academy, its Foundation and its Kids Eat Right initiative. During August, the Academy and the Foundation are celebrating Kids Eat Right Month, highlighting the role everyone plays in ensuring a healthy future for children.
The Journal articles address what authors of one paper calls "one of the world's greatest challenges of the 21st century … to sustainably feed the growing global population with increased demand for finite resources such as water, land and minerals." The articles include summaries of two Academy-sponsored conferences designed to look at global issues of food production, malnutrition, food safety, population growth and agriculture innovation.
"During the next 35 years, world food demand is projected to increase by about two-thirds," according to the authors. "One-third of this increase will be due to the growing world population, which is mostly concentrated in developing countries; the other one-third will result from an increase in urbanization and economic growth in emerging countries. The global middle class is expected to increase from 1.8 billion (in 2009) to 4.9 billion in 2030 … As the world population grows, and more people achieve middle-class status, we will need to produce more nutrient-dense food without increasing our use of natural resources."
The articles spotlight the need for registered dietitian nutritionists worldwide to serve as resources for feeding a growing population safely and sustainably. Existing Academy and Foundation resources include:
- The Future of Food initiative, that raises Academy members' awareness and knowledge of domestic and international food security and farm to fork issues.
- Kids Eat Right, a campaign to mobilize members to participate in community and school childhood obesity prevention efforts, and to educate families, communities and policy makers about the importance of high-quality nutrition.
- "Standards of Professional Performance for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (Competent, Proficient and Expert) in Sustainable, Resilient and Healthy Food and Water Systems," published in the March 2014 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Promoting Ecological Sustainability within the Food System practice paper, encouraging RDNs to "become educated and active in implementing sustainable practices and shaping policy in an effort to promote healthier individuals, communities and the nation as a whole."
- Member groups within the Academy, including the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, the Food and Culinary Professionals and Public Health Community Nutrition dietetic practice groups.
"Now more than ever," the authors write, "it is imperative that RDNs and all nutrition and dietetics practitioners do more to contribute to healthy, sustainable food systems to ensure the best nutrition – beginning at the farm and all along the food supply chain."
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.