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Overeating, undernourishment and waste are defining features of a dysfunctional food system. Global hunger, malnourishment and obesity are symptoms of the same problem when the food system is driven first and foremost by profit rather than human health and well-being.

Over 925 million people are afflicted by hunger, but an even greater number – one billion – are overweight or obese. Some governments and industry suggest that individual actions are the root of the problem, and responsible consumerism is the solution. In reality, these issues more frequently reflect structural inequalities, not individual choices. The following section identifies some of the problems and paradoxes of modern diets and consumption trends related to food and agriculture.

Links and Resources

  • The Development Fund . (2011). Part 1. In A. Nærstad (Ed.), A viable food future. Retrieved from
  • ETC Group. (2009). Who will feed us? Questions for the food and climate crises. Retrieved from
  • Food and Agriculture Organization. (2014). The State of Food and Agriculture: Food Systems for Better Nutrition. Retrieved from
  • Patel, R. (2010). Stuffed and starved: Markets, power and the hidden battle for the world’s food system. Retrieved from

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