Perhaps this headline is obvious to any of us who are out and about in today's world - the one population health index that we can all observe is the apparently ever growing epidemic of people who are a little heavier than they might be - and in some cases very much heavier.
This is the undeniable background to the EATforum taking place in Stockholm this week - and some data on the worldwide obesity epidemic will be published later in the week by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in the Lancet . But if the grim reality is that, so far, there is a spectacular lack of success in controlling obesity, then what are the actions that the world needs to take? Let me share some insights from some of the EATforum speakers.
Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre assured us that the world can, in principle, feed a population of 9 billion people successfully, as it will need to do in the fairly near future, probably by around 2050. But this will not be a "business as usual" scenario - it will require major shifts in patterns of food production and consumption to be achieved effectively.
Norway's former Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre sees one major obstacle as breaking down the silos within which researchers, policy makers and businesses tend to operate. It's too easy to pin attention on one topic - say diabetes for example - without taking an holistic view of the global landscape. This is where the EATforum, with Gunhild Stordalen's inspirational leadership, is specially positioned to make an impact. Which human being in the world can say that they have no interest or stake in food? This is a truly silo-busting approach.
(originally published as a Huff Post UK Blog 27/05/2014)