Addressing the Double Burden of Malnutrition in a Globalised World
We take this opportunity to welcome you to World Nutrition Cape Town 2016, the 2nd edition of the World Public Health Nutrition Association’s World Nutrition Congress, which is co-hosted by the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. This congress is taking place at a time of unprecedented challenges in population nutrition. The Global South is experiencing a rapid ‘nutrition transition’, where an increasing number of Southern countries are faced with a ‘double burden’ of malnutrition, with persisting high levels of chronic undernutrition and escalating rates of overweight and obesity, with their accompanying diseases. In the high-income countries, the obesity epidemic is well-established and increasingly affecting the poorest communities.
These challenges are ultimately a reflection of flaws in food, nutrition and health systems. Global and national food systems are increasingly concentrated and globalised, with small scale food production being rapidly marginalised in countries where such activity previously predominated. In many countries people are mobilising to defend their rights and taking action to recover and preserve indigenous and environmentally sustainable food systems.
Several African countries are experiencing a ‘nutrition transition’ but are not yet as advanced along this trajectory as is South Africa, your host country. Together with ‘Big Food’ – large corporations in the food system – South African food companies (manufacturers and retailers) are expanding into Sub-Saharan Africa, influencing many countries’ food environments and nutritional indicators. Hence, South Africa’s experience and policies can inform improved understanding and policy making on the continent and can also provide a platform for all concerned with the impact of the food system on the health of humanity and our planet. The holding of the WPHNA Congress in South Africa has the potential to inform key policy makers and researchers and significantly shape the food and nutrition policy landscape in South Africa, Africa and beyond.
The University of the Western Cape, a public university in Cape Town, South Africa will be the venue hosting scientific presentations, critical debates and planned actions. Researchers, policymakers, students and activists will come together from different fields ranging from land and agriculture through food retail and advertising to diets, health systems and nutritional outcomes. We warmly encourage you to participate in this process.