New science advisory discusses innovation to create a healthy and sustainable food system

Photo of assorted vegetables at a market

American Heart Association Scientific Advisory

A science advisory from the American Heart Association describes system-wide innovations to the U.S. food system that are sustainable and have the potential to make it easier for consumers to choose healthy foods. The advisory is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

“Innovation in the food system is needed at multiple levels- the food industry, agricultural industry, public health and medicine, policy, and among communities, worksites, schools, and families. In a healthy food system, the healthy choice would be the default choice,” said Cheryl A.M. Anderson, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.S., the chair of the writing group for the advisory.

“To create a healthier and sustainable food system and optimal environments where consumers purchase and consume foods, we need improvements in food production and distribution so that consumers have a wide variety of healthy foods readily available,” said Anderson.

According to the advisory, voluntary private sector approaches, when practiced widely, can also favorably impact health behaviors. “Examples include formulating new food products that are lower in calories and/or packaged as smaller serving sizes to reduce population-wide calorie consumption; improving the nutritional value of manufactured foods, product placement of healthier foods on grocery store shelves and pricing strategies to encourage purchasing healthier foods,” said Anderson, who is the chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and a professor in the school of medicine at the University of California in San Diego.

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