For all publications from MCCHE’s Scientific Director and Founding Chair, Laurette Dubé, see: Google Scholar

Special Feature: Paths of Convergence for Agriculture, Health, and Wealth

Led by Prof. Laurette Dube, a special feature titled “Paths of convergence for agriculture, health and wealth” was published December 16th, 2014 in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. The special feature, with convergence thinking and practice at its core, specifically discusses academic papers structured around four themes: (1) evidence for a need for convergence and underlying mechanisms at the individual and societal levels; (2) strategy for mainstreaming convergence as a driver of business engagement and innovation; (3) convergence in policy and governance; (4) convergence in metrics and methods. Academic papers under each theme are accompanied by a roadmap paper reporting on the current status of concrete transformative convergence-building projects associated with that theme. The insights provided by these papers have the potential to enable all actors throughout society to singly and collectively work to build supply and demand for nutritious food, in both traditional and modern food systems, while placing the burdens of malnutrition and ill health on their core strategic agendas.

Featured Press Release: Why do anti-hunger and anti-obesity initiatives always fall short?

With widespread hunger continuing to haunt developing nations, and obesity fast becoming a global epidemic, any number of efforts on the parts of governments, scientists, non-profit organizations and the business world have taken aim at these twin nutrition-related crises. But all of these efforts have failed to make a large dent in the problems, and now an unusual international collaboration of researchers is explaining why.

Publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers argue that while hunger and obesity are caused by a perfect storm of multiple factors acting in concert, the efforts to counter them have been narrowly focused and isolated. Overcoming the many barriers to achieving healthy nutrition worldwide, the researchers argue, will instead require an unprecedented level of joint planning and action between academia, government, civil society and industry.

In particular, the authors of the papers in the PNAS special feature propose an ambitious plan to remake the ways food is grown, processed, distributed, sold and consumed. The plan focuses on innovations that simultaneously take into account the needs of farmers, the complexity of nutrition-related human biology and decision-making, and the power of profit incentives in the commercial sector. The result, the researchers say, is “a roadmap for a transdisciplinary science to support change of sufficient scale and scope” to carve out “an alternative path from tradition to industrialization” -- one that “promotes healthy lifestyles and environments rather than undermining them.”

Taken together, the papers in the PNAS feature represent a significant contribution to the growing debate over the obesity epidemic, the globalization of food markets, and the role of food companies in addressing health and nutrition problems.

Publications Featured in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Articles published by the MCCHE in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Policy Reports

Reports prepared by the MCCHE on nutrition-related health policy

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