Harnessing the power on our plates: sustainable dietary patterns for public and planetary health

Jayne V. Woodside*, Leona Lindberg, Anne P. Nugent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Globally, diet quality is poor, with populations failing to achieve national dietary guidelines. Such failure has been consistently linked with malnutrition and poorer health outcomes. In addition to the impact of diet on health outcomes, it is now accepted that what we eat, and the resulting food system, has significant environmental or planetary health impacts. Changes are required to our food systems to reduce these impacts and mitigate the impact of climate change on our food supply. Given the complexity of the interactions between climate change, food and health, and the different actors and drivers that influence these, a systems-thinking approach to capture such complexity is essential. Such an approach will help address the challenges set by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Progress against SDGs has been challenging, with an ultimate target of 2030. While the scientific uncertainties regarding diet and public and planetary health need to be addressed, equal attention needs to be paid to the structures and systems, as there is a need for multi-level, coherent and sustained structural interventions and policies across the full food system/supply chain to effect behavior change. Such systems-level change must always keep nutritional status, including impact on micronutrient status, in mind. However, benefits to both population and environmental health could be expected from achieving dietary behaviour change towards more sustainable diets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-453
Number of pages17
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number4
Early online date31 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society.


  • Dietary intake
  • Food systems
  • Non-communicable disease risk
  • Planetary health
  • Public health
  • Socioeconomic inequalities
  • Sustainable diets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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