Earlier this year I made the trip down to London from Aberdeen to participate in the final of the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s Student Challenges Competition. Upon reflection, I have to say that I was slightly apprehensive about delivering my pitch. Imperial College commands a pretty formidable reputation as a centre for excellence in life sciences and I knew that the format of the competition was a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event, which essentially means that the participants get a good grilling by the judges.
The health of a population is influenced by a wide range of factors, most of which lie outside the healthcare system. This includes social, economic and environmental factors, as well as individuals’ behaviours.
Tackling the major health challenges facing populations across the globe – including the rise of chronic diseases and widening inequities in health requires co-ordinated action between different parts of society. Yet approaches to improving population health are typically fragmented and imbalanced towards healthcare services.
The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically in recent years and in some countries this is still occurring. The increase applies mainly to type 2 diabetes but there are indications that the prevalence of type 1 diabetes is also rising. Diabetes of either type has major personal and societal implications, being associated with an inevitable requirement for some modification of lifestyle, living in the shadow of serious complications such as circulatory disorders and disease of the eyes and kidneys, and ultimately reduced life expectancy.
By Alice Marks, Agriculture for Impact, Imperial College London
As we celebrate Africa Day 2016, it’s time to reflect on the state of nutrition in Africa and the weighty effect malnutrition has on the continent’s ability to prosper. Progress has been made over the past decades, for example through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to reduce extreme hunger and starvation. However, it is the quality of food that people consume and a lack of variety that is of increasing concern. A few weeks ago, Roger Thurow, a Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, released a new book, The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—And the World.
By Saba Fatima Mirza, Institute of Global Health Innovation to mark World Food Day 2015
When we talk about food, we must talk about its abundance and scarcity.
According to a recent United Nations report, about one-third of the world’s food, a shocking 1.3 billion tonnes, is thrown away each year. While some of this waste is a spinoff of the production phase of the food cycle, a higher portion of food is wasted at the consumption stage in high-income countries. This has to do with a combination of dietary habits and consumer behaviour.
By Francis Peel from Imperial’s Partnership for Child Development.
To celebrate International School Meals Day on the 5th March, schools from around the world share their experiences of school meals. It’s a fun way for school kids to learn what’s on their plates and on what children the other side of the world will be eating.
However given the depressing regularity of nutritional bad news focusing on obesity or malnutrition perhaps policy makers should be just as excited by school meals and the wider school health and nutrition movement which can provide countries with the tools to tackle this problem.