Go to Top

World Nutrition


Contents: January-March 2016

Journal of the World Public Health Nutrition Association
Volume 7, Number 1-3

Knowing is not enough. We must apply. Willing is not enough. We must do 

Johann Ludwig von Goethe 


Editorial 1 – 4                                                                                   
Facing the facts of this century
The editors

Interesting times
Our first commentary is the latest in The Food System series – which began in WN in 2010. It is the refined and adjusted NOVA classification on which 17 authors and researchers and many other advisors have worked. Our 19 contributors to the WN Visions series brought together in this issue, are from Asia, Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, North and Latin America and Europe, are gender-balanced with ages spanning half a century, and have a range of specialities, attitudes and beliefs. Our third commentary on Indian women protecting their forested land is edited from reports by Shruti Ravindran and Manipadma Jena.


Editorial 5 – 6
Visions 2015 – 2030 and beyond
The Visions team

The Visions series began in 2014. It is brought together here with this 36-page summary of statements by 19 of our editorial team and regular contributors. It is one of the most significant collective statements WN has made. Editorial team member Mark Wahlqvist from Australia and China says: ‘Whether the tide of affairs can be turned before habitable ecosystem collapse occurs, depends on slowing, stopping and reversing population growth, arresting ecosystem destruction, better strategies to resolve conflict, and providing satisfying and productive livelihoods in all populations and communities’.


Update  7 – 27
We start with reasons why it is time to stop relentless reckless ruthless ‘progress’ based on scale, speed, growth, force and war, depicted above in ‘Instruments of Power’ by Thomas Hart Benton. Then good news. Shahani Shresta reports on agroecology in Nepal. Then bad news. Felipe Neves reports on the Brazilian Rio Doce environmental catastrophe. Then hopeful news. Sara Garduño-Diaz reports from France, China and Turkey on ways to stop wasting food. Then big news. Geoffrey Cannon reports on Big Sugar power politics in the Americas and proposes a global tax to protect workers as well as consumers.

This century From World Nutrition to Nourish   Geoffrey Cannon
Agroecology. Nepal Real farmers must be resilient Shahani Shresta
Public goods. Pollution, Brazil The sweet river is poisoned   Felipe Neves
Food waste, France, China, Turkey Waste not, want not   Sara Garduño-Diaz
Sugar. Taxation The cost, price and value of sugar Geoffrey Cannon


Food classification. Public health 28-38
Carlos Monteiro, Geoffrey Cannon, Renata Levy, Jean-Claude Moubarac, Patricia Jaime, Ana Paula Martins, Daniela Canella, Maria Louzada,Diana Parra. Also Camila Ricardo, Giovanna Calixto, Priscila Machado, Carla Martins, Euridice Martinez, Larissa Baraldi, Josefa Garzillo, Isabela Sattamini
NOVA. The star shines bright 

The authors write: NOVA is the food classification that categorises foods according to the extent and purpose of food processing, rather than in terms of nutrients. Set out here in its adjusted and refined form, NOVA classifies all foods and food products into four clearly distinct and in our view meaningful groups. It specifies which foods belong in which group, and provides precise definitions of the types of processing underlying each group. NOVA, featured regularly in WN, is now recognised as a valid tool for nutrition and public health research, policy and action, in reports from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Pan American Health Organization. We owe thanks to many colleagues throughout the world for support in the work set out here.


Now also available in Portuguese / Agora também disponível em português


Development. Visions 39 – 74
Brooke Aksnes, Anthony Fardet, Ashok Bhurtyal, Cecilia Castillo, Claudio Schuftan, Diana Parra, Geoffrey Cannon, George Kent, Isabela Sattamini, José Luis Vivero Pol, Maria Alvim, Mark Wahlqvist. Olivia Yambi, Pilar Zazueta, Sara Garduño-Diaz, Seva Khambadkone, Stefanie Vandevijvere, Thiago de Sá

Past, present and future: Here is what we see

Brooke Aksnes, Visions convenor, writes: Here are selected extracts of the testimonies – commitments, beliefs, and aspirations – of our 19 Visions writers. They are all WN editorial team members or regular contributors. We have a balance of younger and older visionaries, women and men, and team members and regular contributors, from all continents. Rational and sustainable plans will emphasise shared meals, strengthen social coherence, valorise established cultures, multiply local agriculture and food systems, protect rural and urban livelihoods, increase all forms of diversity, cleanse land, air and water, and reduce the burden the human species imposes on the physical world and the biosphere.


Agroecology. Land exploitation 75 – 89
Shruti Ravindran, Manipadma Jena
The Indian land wars

Shruti Ravindran writes: Indian farming is in crisis. Most of India’s 250 million farmers and farm workers struggle to sustain themselves and their families. Farmers and researchers blame the lack of cheap, reliable credit and insurance, fluctuating market prices, and the absence of a social safety net for when the crop fails or when the returns are too low to cover basic subsistence needs.


Column  Here I am 90 – 100 
Brooke Aksnes

Brooke Aksnes writes: This column was written from Belgium where I live, at the time of the Paris atrocities. Here is the main square of Brussels under maximum security alert. I have been thinking. It is right to encourage and celebrate the everyday fearless acts of citizens in Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia and many other countries, as well as those in Paris and Brussels, that are attacked by terrorists. This helps to know what being a citizen means in an unstable and insecure world. But there is an even bigger issue here: this is a good time for everybody to act as citizens in the face of all other forms of violence and atrocity, small and large, that may affect them, their communities, their countries, or the people of other countries.


Column Here I stand 101- 117 
Geoffrey Cannon
Ancel Keys. The man who knew it all, and other stories

Geoffrey Cannon writes: Most ambitious scientists climb to the top of their profession because of being in the right place at the right time, or else on the basis of one great sustained achievement. Ancel Keys (above, left and right) scored four triumphs. One was his invention of the K for Keys rations that sustained US GI soldiers in World War 2 (second from left). Two was his mammoth ‘starvation experiment’ that should have proved finally that dieting makes you fat (second from right). Three was his insistence on cholesterol being the key dietary determinant of coronary heart disease, which scored him a Life magazine cover (right). Four was his discovery – or rather invention – of the unique protective properties of ‘the Mediterranean diet’. He ‘knew it all’, and was a ‘wise guy’. But was he right?

Also. Commemorating Sidney Mintz and his great book Sweetness and Power whose frontispiece by William Blake, ‘Europe supported by Africa and America’ is above, left.. Plus, why Darwinists are wrong and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is at least partly right. Plus working out why to work out (also above)


Feedback 118 – 146
Our final treat – a record 29 pages of letters. Team members, regular contributors, advisors and correspondents, from Canada, Morocco, Belgium, China, the US, Ethiopia, the UK, Nepal and Brazil, on food governance (Codex Alimentarius in session, below), what’s wrong with the 2015 global nutrition report, the need for aspiration, food as a commons, overuse of iron supplements, and to end with a new beginning, the great vitamin A fiasco – or scandal – and the move towards universal healthy food strategies.

Codex Alimentarius Packed with corporates (above) Elisabeth Sterken

Global Nutrition Report The world seen from the top Sabah Benjelloun
Visions We all need to aspire   José Luis Vivero Pol, Mark Wahlqvist
Food as commons Can food be a public good? George Kent
Iron supplementation Good food is best Kaleab Baye
Agroecology Real Farming  Colin Tudge .
Vitamin A supplementation .From fiasco to scandal  Ashok Bhurtyal

Vitamin A supplementation Tipping the point   Geoffrey Cannon


The Big Pictures. This World Now

the big picture2

Paris (above). The people of Paris commemorated the civilians murdered by terrorists and also protested against exclusion from the climate summit, in this display of empty shoes in the Place de la République, organised by the social movement Avaaz. The Arctic (below). Optimistic about the chances to check global warming, after the Paris summit? See this current satellite map of the Arctic, showing that the area round the North Pole is now melting in winter. Think again. Do not despair, but do reflect.