City, University of London, UK
Professor Hawkes is Director, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London and a Distinguished Fellow at the George Institute for Global Health. Her works aims to advance the adoption of effective policies throughout the food system to improve diets, reduce obesity and address malnutrition in all its forms locally, nationally and internationally. Professor Hawkes was a member of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems and the Lancet Commission on Obesity. Between 2015-2018 she was Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report and in 2018 was appointed Vice Chair of the Mayor of London’s Child Obesity Taskforce. In 2013, while Head of Policy and Public Affairs at World Cancer Research Fund International, she established the NOURISHING Framework to monitor the development of policies to promote healthy diets worldwide.
The world is currently very far away from achieving healthy diets for all. For some, diets are dominated by staple grains; others have a plethora of different food products - but high in fats, sugars and salt. Most people, rich and poor, consume too few fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and wholegrains. The result is many different forms of malnutrition.
The challenges of achieving change are not to be understated: so how can we get there? We know that a lot of action is already happening to take us forward, whether it be by countries, cities, regions, businesses, UN agencies and civil society. While many of these actions are having positive impacts, they tend to be modest, not yet adding up to the transformation we need.
So what type of action do we need for systems-level change? What are the fundamentals needed to deliver? First we need a vision to guide this action. Second, we need to reorient entire food systems towards better diets. Third, we need to connect better with the people whos diets we seek to change. Fifth, we need “healthy food in all policies” so that all parts of government and sectors are involved. And sixth, we need a new type of leadership for change characterised by curiosity, courage, competence and compassion. This type of leadership would make all the difference to our ability to put effective action into place.
In my talk I will take you through these fundamental shifts that need to happen, showing that they are all within the realm of possibility, giving practical examples of how to make change.