Aligning the food system to meet dietary needs: Fruits and vegetables - Introduction to session 1


This presentation was delivered by Kathryn G. Dewey, PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Nutrition, and Director of the Program in International & Community Nutrition at the University of California, Davis.

Session 1 was on Optimal Nutrition and the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables, and this introductory presentation begins by discussing the 11 key factors associated with the Global Burden of Disease. It notes that pre-agricultural era diet was vitamin and mineral rich because it was high in animal source foods, total fats, and fruits and vegetables, with almost no cereals and no refined sugars. In low-income countries, it’s now the opposite.

The presentation goes on to discuss the potential benefits and limitations of biofortification and food fortification to meet the nutrients needs of the global population. It highlights that foods provide more than nutrients and that bioactive substances have health effects that are not yet fully understood (e.g. phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables). It shares the global goal to reduce nutrient deficiencies and help prevent chronic diseases, and highlights the key constraint to more fruit and vegetable consumption: affordability. Until the affordability issue is addressed, it will be difficult to make progress in increasing global consumption. Moreover, work is needed in increasing demand for locally available, nutrient dense products that are not currently widely consumed.

This introductory presentation was part of at an event titled "Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables," which took place on June 2-3, 2017, at the UC Davis Conference Center.