In the U.S, and the rest of the world, it would be more honest to call the “health care” system a “health repair” system. Today some two to three billion people are food-insecure. Roughly 800 million are hungry and another perhaps two billion are micronutrient malnourished. Almost all of these people have weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to disease.
Interactions between the biophysical and social dimensions of the food problem are daunting. Meeting human nutritional needs means increasing agricultural production some 70% to 100% by 2050 in response to a growing population, rising demand in emerging economies for meat-rich diets, and increasing competition from biofuels. Such a production increase will create pressure to expand the already-dangerous fossil fuel subsidy to agriculture. The results will be more greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation, and likely higher food prices.
Perhaps the biggest uncertainty is whether key politicians will recognize the population-food-health crisis and provide the leadership necessary to avoid a calamitous loss of food security and, thus, the loss of health and well-being.
Bing Professor of Population Studies, President of the Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Stanford University; Adjunct Professor, University of Technology, SydneyNo slides available
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