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Institute for Sustainable Food Systems

Innovative solutions for a healthy and productive world

Institute for Sustainable Food Systems

Innovative solutions for a healthy and productive world

Providing the growing global population with nutritious and safe foods is a considerable challenge.


FOOD SYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH

Food is a basic need to sustain human life, and the quantity and quality of food is a key determinant of the health of populations. Providing the growing global population with nutritious and safe foods is a considerable challenge. More than half the world’s population is adversely affected by malnutrition in all its forms, including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity. Four percent of the global disease burden in 2013 was attributed to dietary risk factors (particularly in industrialized countries) and three percent to child and maternal malnutrition (particularly in sub-Saharan Africa).

Annually, 1 out of 10 people in the world suffer from foodborne disease. People living in low-income areas are disproportionately affected. Children under five years of age make up 9% of the world population, but suffer from 38% of all foodborne illnesses, succumb to 30% of foodborne deaths and bear 40% of global burden of foodborne disease. Industrialization and globalization of food supplies introduce multiple new opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals, and to spread to all consumers.

ISFS will integrate systems models for food and human health with models for food production and food security, building on the concept of sustainable diets. Research and teaching will focus on three domains: dietary factors and (chronic) disease, food safety and disease and indirect effects of food systems on human health (linking to the One Health initiative). In all domains, we will work on mapping the current and future food supply in relation to human health by selecting and developing indicators and securing access to relevant databases, by developing and implementing mathematical models to increase understanding of the complex relationships in food systems, by foresight activities and by developing decision support models. We will do research to increase the incomes, nutrition and health of vulnerable populations in low-income countries.

Current Projects

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded the University of Florida (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) a $49 million, five-year cooperative agreement to establish the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems (LSIL). The objective of the LSIL is to achieve sustainable improvements in livestock productivity and marketing to increase the incomes, nutrition and health of vulnerable livestock holders. The primary focus of the LSIL will be in in East Africa (Ethiopia and Rwanda), West Africa (Burkina Faso and Niger) and South Asia (Cambodia and Nepal). Website: http://livestocklab.ifas.ufl.edu

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