Efforts to promote health through improved diet and nutrition demand an appreciation of the nutritional ecology that accounts for the intersection of agriculture, food systems, health, disease and a changing environment. The complexity and implications of this ecology is exemplified by current trends and efforts to address nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), most prominently type 2 diabetes. The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes continues to rise unabated. Of particular concern is how to address the unhealthy dietary patterns that are contributing to this pandemic in a changing environment. A multi- disciplinary approach is required that will engage those communities that comprise the continuum of effort from research to translation and implementation of evidence-informed interventions, programs and policies. Using the prevention of type 2 diabetes by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as an exemplar, we argue that the ability to effect positive change in this and other persistent nutrition-related problems can be achieved by moving away from siloed approaches that limit the integration of key components of the diet-health continuum. Ultimately the impact of preventing type 2 diabetes via increased fruit and vegetable consumption will depend on how the entire diet changes, not just fruits and vegetables. In addition, the rapidly changing physical environment that will confront our food production system going forward will also shape the interventions that are possible. Nonetheless, the proposed "team science" approach that accounts for all the elements of the nutrition ecology will better position us to achieve public health goals through safe and sustainable food systems.
Finley, J., Jaacks, L. M., Peters, C. J., Ort, D. R., Aimone, A. M., Conrad, Z., & Raiten, D. J. (2019, September 1). Perspective: Understanding the Intersection of Climate/Environmental Change, Health, Agriculture, and Improved Nutrition - A Case Study: Type 2 Diabetes. Advances in Nutrition. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz035