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  4. Addressing the global burden of obesity and undernutrition through integrated systems thinking and policy coherence




Addressing the global burden of obesity and undernutrition through integrated systems thinking and policy coherence



The Centre for Food Policy’s monthly Food Thinkers series aims to advance the thinking and practice of integrated approaches to food policy. For the September 2017 Food Thinkers we are honoured to have with us two visitors from Australia and New Zealand who are are exploring integrated approaches to improving nutrition globally.

Professor Boyd Swinburn has been one of the world’s leading scholars of obesity prevention for decades and Dr Anne Marie Thow is producing some of the most innovative work on food policy for nutrition today. In their talks, they will explore frameworks that can facilitate a more integrated approach to addressing the problem of the co-existence of obesity and undernutrition across the globe.

At the global level, the concept of ‘malnutrition in all its forms’ is gaining currency as a way to integrate efforts around obesity and undernutrition. However, this has not yet been translated into understanding what this means operationally at the global, national or community levels.

Professor Swinburn will explore the potential of systems concepts, methods and tools, used in other disciplines for decades, to better understand the problems and better devise actions. He will present some examples of systems approaches to show the potential that systems science has to offer in addressing food and nutrition problems.

Dr Thow will specifically look at food systems. She will explore how incoherent policy incentives exist throughout the food system undermine efforts to improve both obesity and undernutrition. She will show that reorienting food system policies to support nutrition policy goals will require: 1) identification of what needs to change – specific instances of policy incoherence between nutrition goals and food system policy incentives; and 2) understanding of the politico-economics and powerful policy agendas behind the food system that provide insights into how such policy change might be achieved.

Questions and discussion will then be opened to the audience.

Professor Boyd Swinburn, MBChB, MD, FRACP, FNZCPHM

Boyd Swinburn is Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland and Alfred Deakin Professor with the Global Obesity Centre, Deakin University, Melbourne. Professor Swinburn trained as an endocrinologist and has conducted research in metabolic, clinical and public health aspects of obesity. His major research interests are centred on community and policy actions to prevent childhood and adolescent obesity, and reduce, what he has coined, ‘obesogenic’ environments. He is currently leading an initiative ( to monitor and benchmark food environments internationally. He has over 350 publications related to obesity, established WHO’s first Collaborating Centre on Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in 2003, led two Lancet Series on Obesity and co-chairs the Lancet Commission on Obesity. He has been an advisor on many government committees, WHO Consultations, and large scientific studies internationally. He is also Co-Chair of World Obesity Policy & Prevention section.

Dr Anne Marie Thow

Dr Anne Marie Thow is Senior Lecturer in Health Policy at the University of Sydney and currently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London. Her research uses theories of public policy making to explore facilitators and barriers to best practice public health nutrition policy globally, with a particular focus on the interface between economic policy and nutrition. Anne Marie currently collaborates on research in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, designed to strengthen nutrition policy making, and regularly consults with international agencies regarding nutrition policy. Prior to her PhD, Anne Marie worked for the Governments of Australia and Fiji on nutrition policy issues. She trained in nutrition and has a Masters in Public Policy and Economics.

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When & where

5.30pm - 7.00pmWednesday 27th September 2017

A130 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom