Food and Health Research and Solutions

As the global population increases, more people require adequate diet and high-functioning systems to provide enough food. Although the overall hunger and starvation have diminished since the middle of XX century, nutrition-related deficiencies’ and conditions’ risks continuously grow worldwide. This essay will review why the socio-ecological perspective is the most viable framework for analysing food systems, as well as highlight the most impactful solutions for current dietary and health problems.

The Benefits of Socio-Ecological Perspective for Food Systems and Health

As it concerns the perspective to analyse the current food systems for finding better solutions, the socio-ecological framework fits best for the complete overview and actionable insights. As Gordon et al. note, many research papers utilize structures that focus on examining the vast majority of all factors that play a role in the nutrition systems. Such an approach makes it “hard to identify the interlinkages between the biophysical and social systems that shape production and consumption patterns” (Gordon et al. 2). Unlike these strategies, however, the socio-ecological outlook focuses on variables like production, consumption, interlinkage, and mutual feedback (Gordon et al.). When a diet is examined as a concept within the food structure, it is easier to trace numerous insights about the interconnectedness of communities and systems. “The approach is embedded within the biosphere that sets fundamental boundaries for human activities” (Gordon et al. 3). This hierarchical relationship helps researchers to better understand how social contexts like culture, income, ethnicity, values, and traditions shape local nutritional choices and make the systems fit into these social boundaries.

The Most Impactful Solutions

When researchers examine the food structures from a socio-ecological perspective, the most effective solutions appear to be systematic changes that maintain long-term effects on people’s nutritional choices and their relationship with the biosphere. Firstly, reconnecting people with the biosphere has been defined as one of many options for enhancing the health of the communities (Gordon et al.). In regions where people mostly have agricultural occupation, their connection to the biosphere is strong because people interact with and rely on it for sustainability and income. On the other hand, urban areas and cities have lost this connection and now struggle from poor nutritional choices that negatively affect the population’s overall health (Gordon et al. 6). One of the solutions for this issue is to promote connection-spurring activities like participation in community gardens. Nevertheless, these local actions are not enough to support and revive the biosphere relationship of urban citizens, and governmental intervention might be necessary for a more global and drastic change (Gordon et al.). However, the measures for policymaking are vague and not systematized.

Secondly, one of the most challenging yet effective decisions to facilitate nutritional health is to change people’s behaviour. Although people’s poor choice in the diet is one of the most apparent reasons for health repercussions, it is unclear what is the best approach to shifting individuals’ choices from unhealthy to more beneficial diets (Gordon et al.). Making better food options more accessible can lead to negative consequences: cheaper healthy products are often not supportive of the communities they are produced in, so consumers would have to choose between social and nutritional benefits (Gordon et al.). Thus, such an improvement in one region can lead to worsening of the workers’ conditions in another area, and the hardship of finding balance makes this highly efficient solution also one of the hardest ones.

Conclusion

To sum up, the socio-ecological view of the food systems is a viable outlook to examine the best approaches to enhancing the health of the population. A more simplified structure’s overview shows a comprehensive set of evidence for the interrelation between the biosphere and multiple social factors. The examination of the current food structures showed that the two most impactful, yet complex solutions are influencing people’s nutritional decisions towards healthier alternatives and reconnecting them to the biosphere.

Work Cited

Gordon, Line J., et al. “Rewiring Food Systems to Enhance Human Health and Biosphere Stewardship.” Environmental Research Letters, vol 12, no. 10, 2017, pp. 1-12. IOP Publishing.