Is New Zealand's food system unsustainable? | 1/8/2019 | Staff
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New research from Massey University's College of Health shows overwhelming support for sustainability characteristics to be included in the Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults, set out by the Ministry of Health.

Calls for action to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals highlight food as the single strongest lever to optimise health and environmental sustainability.

Associate - Professor - Carol - Wham - School

Associate Professor Carol Wham from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition says national guidelines represent a key opportunity for policy makers to address food consumption patterns, and several countries have taken the lead to include sustainable diet characteristics into their guidelines.

This research found 77 percent of 298 agriculture, environment and health sector professionals supported the inclusion of sustainability characteristics. In particular there was high agreement to promote whole foods, sustainable seafood, sustainable lifestyle behaviours (i.e. physical activity), limit processed foods and reduce food waste.

Dr - Wham - Thirds - Respondents - Percent

Dr. Wham says two thirds of respondents (63 percent) believe New Zealand's current food system is not sustainable, however there was a divergence of opinion by sector. "More than half [57 percent] of the agriculture sector respondents believe New Zealand's food system is sustainable, compared to less than 15 percent of respondents from the health and environmental sectors."

Disagreement between sectors has been demonstrated in other countries and previously led to the abandonment of environmental sustainability considerations into Australia's National Food Plan, Dr. Wham says. "In the United States, where dietary guidelines are jointly...
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