SE130 Tackling obesity: Triple-win policies for healthy and sustainable food environments. Food systems are threatening human and planetary health. What are the win-win solutions?


  • World Obesity Federation
  • Ministry of Health, Brazil
  • Gehl urban design consultancy
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Our knowledge of obesogenic environments has leapt forwards in the last decade. We have a deeper understanding of the incentives to over-consume, the design of food environments, and the underlying systems that are creating the rising global health crisis. Can we turn our knowledge into practical solutions?

The side-event will focus on new and pioneering developments in policies and practices. Examples will be drawn from urban food environments (foodscapes), from government-level commitments to UN-level policies, and from the recent Lancet Commissions on sustainable food supplies and the 'global syndemic' of obesity, under-nutrition and global warming. The side-event will focus on practical approaches to achieve triple-action 'win-win-wins' for sustainable food systems.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Anna Lartey - FAO
  • Hannah Brinsden – World Obesity Federation
  • Gisele Bortolini – Brazilian Ministry of Health
  • Sophia Scuff – Gehl
  • Afton Halloran – Gehl
  • Jo Jewell – UNICEF

Main themes/issues discussed

  • Obesogenic environments
  • Health crisis
  • Urban food systems
  • Obesity
  • Public Health
  • Overconsumption
  • Foodscapes
  • Global Syndemic
  • Nutrition
  • Urban planning

Summary of key points

Our knowledge of obesogenic environments has leapt forward in the last decade. We now have a deeper understanding of the incentives to overconsume, the design of food environments, and the underlying systems that are creating the rising global health crisis.

Obesity is rising globally, particularly in emerging economies which are also seeing the high levels of undernutrition and are at most risk of food insecurity as a result of climate change.

The Lancet Commission report on the Global Syndemic highlights the shared systemic drivers – food, transport, urban systems - which underpin these three issues and which need to be addressed.

The Brazilian Ministry of Health uses the four cost-effective means of tackling obesity: 1) taxation on sweetened drinks; 2) adequate food labelling; 3) regulation of marketing ultra-processed foods to children;4) restricting ultra-processed foods from schools.

Tackling childhood obesity, like other urban challenges, can be done through a public life approach to behaviour change.

Gehl’s research shows that food consumption habits and decisions aren’t always about food, but sometimes about the design and planning of the public realm and the city itself.

Through collecting data on people, and talking to people in their local context, Gehl creates effective and personal strategies for piloting interventions, measuring continuously, and scaling impact quickly.

UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report focuses on nutrition, particularly the triple burden of overnutrition, undernutrition and hunger in the context of climate change.

Key take away messages

It was agreed that more work needs to be done to address obesity alongside malnutrition in order to meet the 2025 WHO targets for obesity and 2030 SDG target to end malnutrition in all its forms, and that food systems are a key mechanism to do this. Framing obesity in a way that gets more buy-in from different stakeholders, including donors and governments in countries with new levels of rising obesity, in order to increase momentum on obesity and reduce the rise we are seeing in emerging economies is important. Exploring the links between obesity and climate change and undernutrition and addressing the underlying systemic drivers will be vital to for making meaningful and sustainable change.

CFS 46 Side Event: SE130 Tackling obesity


The contents of this page is provided by the Side Event organizers and does not reflect the opinion of CFS