Environmental sustainability should be inherent to dietary guidance

Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior issues position paper on the importance of including environmental sustainability in dietary guidance, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior


Philadelphia, January 9, 2019

It is the position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) that environmental sustainability should be inherent to dietary guidance, whether working with individuals or groups about their dietary choices or in setting national dietary guidance. Improving the nutritional health of a population is a long-term goal that requires ensuring the long-term sustainability of the food system. The position paper is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Beginning with a description of current environmental problems, the authors of the position paper discuss the challenges faced in meeting future food needs as well as the recent science behind assessing the environmental impacts of foods and diets. In a subsequent section they cover sustainability, dietary guidance, and research. While there are various angles of sustainability to consider, the focus of this paper is on the environmental dimension of sustainability.

According to Diego Rose, PhD, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA, lead author of the position paper, “Based on the best science we have today, it is clear that current environmental problems—including global climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, water shortages, and water pollution—demand urgent attention, threaten long-term food security, and are in part caused by our current food choices and agricultural practices.”

“The position paper was motivated by the severity of current environmental problems, including global climate change,” said Dr. Rose on the creation of the position paper. “A number of studies have been published about the difficulty of getting to 2050 with an adequate worldwide food supply due to factors such as population increase and change in dietary habits.”

“The paper was also inspired by the information published in the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services in 2015, which included a chapter dedicated to sustainability. We wanted to pass this vital information along to others.”

Based on the evidence presented throughout the paper, the authors make recommendations on dietary guidance policy, research, and nutrition education practice. In terms of dietary guidance, SNEB recommends that environmental sustainability considerations be included in future federal dietary guidance. Future guidelines should contain specific advice, such as consuming less ruminant animal foods in favor of other protein foods. According to results from the American Climate Values Survey of 2014, about half of Americans might be disposed to dietary advice that food choice could affect the environment.

“In discussing dietary recommendations, nutritionists can discuss both the health and environmental impacts of food choices to promote behavior change among consumers,” Dr. Rose said. “People want to know what to eat today, so it is incumbent on those of us who are knowledgeable about nutritional science and education techniques to provide the best advice, based on the available evidence to date.”

“In order to implement the dietary advice outlined in the position paper, nutrition educators will be interested in pursuing continuing education opportunities,” commented Adrienne White, PhD, RDN, professor emerita, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA, who was the president of SNEB when this position paper was developed. “The SNEB Sustainable Food Systems Division will be an important resource on environmental sustainability in dietary guidance.”

---

Notes for editors
The article is “Position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior: The Importance of Including Environmental Sustainability in Dietary Guidance,” by Donald (Diego) Rose, PhD; Martin C. Heller, PhD; and Christina A. Roberto, PhD (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2018.07.006). It appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, volume 51, issue 1 (January 2019) published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 238 3628 or jnebmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with the authors please contact Dr. Diego Rose at +1 504 988 5742 or diego@tulane.edu.

An audio podcast featuring an interview with Dr. Diego Rose and SNEB Past President Dr. Adrienne White and information for journalists are located at www.jneb.org/content/podcast. Excerpts from the podcast may be reproduced by the media; contact Eileen Leahy to obtain permission.

About the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB)
The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior is an international organization of nutrition education professionals who are dedicated to a world where nutrition education is accessible to all and is integral to decisions impacting individual human health, health policy, and environmental sustainability. To learn more, visit www.sneb.org.

About the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB)
The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), is a refereed, scientific periodical that serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in nutrition education and dietary/physical activity behaviors. The purpose of JNEB is to document and disseminate original research, emerging issues, and practices relevant to nutrition education and behavior worldwide and to promote healthy, sustainable food choices. It supports the society’s efforts to disseminate innovative nutrition education strategies, and communicate information on food, nutrition, and health issues to students, professionals, policy makers, targeted audiences, and the public.

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior features articles that provide new insights and useful findings related to nutrition education research, practice, and policy. The content areas of JNEB reflect the diverse interests of health, nutrition, education, Cooperative Extension, and other professionals working in areas related to nutrition education and behavior. As the Society's official journal, JNEB also includes occasional policy statements, issue perspectives, and member communications. www.jneb.org

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

Media contact
Eileen Leahy
Elsevier
+1 732 238 3628
jnebmedia@elsevier.com