Eating for Health and the Environment: Australian Regulatory Responses For Dietary Change
AbstractThe Australian food system significantly contributes to a range of key environmental issues, including harmful greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, soil desertification, biodiversity loss and water scarcity. At the same time, the Australian food system is a key cause of public health nutrition issues that stem from the co-existence of over- and under-consumption of dietary energy and nutrients. Within these challenges lie synergies and opportunities, because a diet that has a lower environmental impact generally aligns with good nutrition. Australian State and Federal initiatives to influence food consumption patterns focus on individual body weight and ‘soft law’ interventions. These regulatory approaches, by focusing on select symptoms of food system failures, are fragmented, reductionist and inefficient. In order to illustrate this point, this article will explore Australian regulatory responses to diet-related illnesses. The analysis will support the argument that only when regulatory responses to diets become embedded within reform of the current food system, will substantial improvements to human and planetary health be achieved.
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