Three Ways to Put the EAT-Lancet Report into Action
This week, the EAT-Lancet Commission released its first report outlining a set of universal, evidence-based benchmarks for the global food system, which it describes as urgently requiring a “radical transformation.”
According to the report, an international effort to meet these targets is needed to effectively combat both crises of health and climate, which are intrinsically linked through food production and consumption. In fact, the report names food “the single strongest lever” humanity has for restoring public health and environmental stability.
The Commission—which brought together 37 experts in nutrition, agriculture, and political and environmental sciences from 16 different countries—concluded that, in order to safely and healthfully nourish 10 billion people by 2050, we must, in the aggregate, reduce meat and sugar consumption by more than 50% and double our intakes of healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
For those who follow our work at Balanced, this conclusion should come as no surprise. Nor should it surprise anyone that food industries are attempting to do damage control by publishing reactionary screeds deriding the work of international experts.
The report’s findings bolster the argument that consumption-side, systems-level changes toward balanced, plant-rich diets are desperately needed to mitigate and reverse today’s dire health crises. And the time to take action is now. If you’re not sure where to start or need some inspiration, we’ve put together three ways you can get involved today.
Lead or join a campaign
As the liaison between consumers and food manufacturers, critical community institutions have the unique ability to create food environments in which healthy dietary choices are easier to make for the people they serve. By starting or joining a campaign for balanced menus in your local institutions, you help demonstrate and foster demand for healthier, plant-rich meal options that will promote health of the people who rely on those facilities.
When balanced food environments and healthy choices become part of the norm, more individuals will choose to eat for health. Because institutions rarely make decisions in line with evidence-based nutrition on their own, we must hold them accountable and show them that these changes are both essential and viable.
Contact your state and local elected officials
In light of the EAT-Lancet report, now is an excellent time to remind your elected officials who they work for. Let your state and local politicians know that you agree with the conclusions in the report, that they should read it if they have not done so, and that they have the responsibility to create legislation that addresses the realities described therein. If you need some help knowing what to say, here's a simple sample script (say that three times fast!):
I'm writing to share my strong endorsement of the recommendations made in the newly released Eat-Lancet report. I encourage you to read it if you have not already, and move quickly to design or endorse policies that make public health and sustainability a priority for our community. In line with the changes many states, cities, and communities have already made in this direction, now is the perfect time to make the changes necessary to ensure a healthy future for all your constituents. You have the power to make a difference and I'm eager to see the healthy changes you help make happen in our community.
Municipal governments have already begun making health and sustainability commitments through the adoption of city-wide nutrition standards that apply to government-run facilities.
Several cities have adopted or are considering adopting the Good Food Purchasing Program.
Similarly, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is pushing for a stronger pro-health stance within the NYC Food Standards, advocated for Meatless Mondays in 15 Brooklyn schools, and helped start a pilot program to treat and prevent chronic disease through diet. The updates to the food standards would include deeper reductions in saturated fat- and cholesterol-containing foods, in alignment with the best nutrition science evidence.
Spread the word, lead by example
Accountability doesn’t always have to start from the top-down. Ultimately, movements are made up of individuals who take the first step to make changes in their own lives and their own homes. Spreading the word by sharing the work of credible nutrition advocates on social media and educating friends and family are powerful ways to make an immediate impact.
Potential allies to public health advocacy are everywhere. Seriously, who doesn’t want healthier families?! It may surprise you which friends and family members will lend their support and join in your advocacy efforts, they might just be waiting for someone like you to speak up!
If you need hands-on resources to help you get started, check out the Reducetarian Foundation. With it's cookbook, summit, and online resources, the Reducetarian Foundation is focused on helping individuals make realistic dietary changes that have a big impact.
And as always, the team at Balanced is ready and willing to answer questions and help you get a jumpstart on your advocacy.
Madeline is the Institutional Outreach and Support Manager at Balanced. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Nutrition from the Univ. of Texas and Tufts, respectively. As a nutrition expert, she advocates for more plant-based dining options in critical institutions with the aim of building healthier food environments and fostering better public health outcomes. You can reach her here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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