4125.1 The Common Ground of Food, Nutrition, and Ecological Health (jointly organized by the Environment and Food & Nutrition Sections)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 12:30 PM
Diet and nutrition influence health, but food is not produced in a vacuum. Science increasingly suggests that how food is produced, packaged and distributed helps determine its overall healthfulness, including its contribution to the health of the environment and communities in which we live. The first presentation examines evidence that agricultural systems focused on producing higher quantities of food (yield) may diminish the nutritive quality of foods. The second presentation reviews ecological and interventional data that excessive dietary intake of soy oil in the US (20% of all calories) lowers tissue levels of beneficial, omega-3 fatty acids, and thus may increase the risk of major illnesses including cardiovascular disease, stroke and mental illnesses. Given the 1,000-fold increase in U.S. soy oil production in the last century, its overproduction has implications for current epidemics of inflammation-mediated chronic disease in the U.S. In the context of recent Farm Bill debate, the third presentation will compares current policies of the U.S. agricultural system with their predecessors, and contrast the health implications of these policies on declining nutritional quality, on the healthfulness of fatty acids predominant in the American diet, and on fossil fuel use and climate change. This presentation offers a systems or ecological perspective as a "common ground" for understanding agriculture, nutrition and health--one that seeks to understand the food system in its whole context, highlighting the interconnections between its parts. A proposal to make public health a guiding principle of U.S. farm policy will be discussed.
Session Objectives: 1) Describe three kinds of evidence for reduced nutritional value in modern plant crops; 2) Advise concerned consumers how they may minimize nutrient losses and improve their diets now using conventional and organic foods; 3) Understand the role of dietary fats in increasing risk of inflammatory illnesses; 4) List three trends in the transformation of U.S. agriculture of significance to public health; 5) Discuss two proposed changes to the Farm Bill and their anticipated impacts on public health and child nutrition.

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Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Maternal and Child Health, Food and Nutrition

CE Credits: CME, Health Education (CHES), Nursing

See more of: Environment