Obesity, climate change, hunger: A ‘Global Syndemic’

The international Lancet Commission on Obesityreleased its major new reportJan. 27. The main takeaway? Obesity, climate change and hunger are inextricably linked and must be fought as one challenge.

Ross Hammond, the Betty Bofinger Brown Associate Professor, and Peter Hovmand, director of the Social System Design Laband professor of practice, both of the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, were among the commissioners.

According to the report, malnutrition, including undernutrition and obesity, is by far the biggest cause of ill-health and premature death globally and is expected to be made significantly worse by climate change.

Hammond notes that the issues are deeply interrelated and driven by common, underlying complex systems. 

The findings are closely linked to Hammond’s and Hovmand’s research areas. Hammond’s primary expertise is modeling dynamics in economic, social, and public health systems using methods from complexity science. Hovmand’s research and practice focus on advancing participatory group model building (GMB) methods to involve communities and other stakeholders in the process of understanding system behavior and using system dynamics computer modeling and simulation to find high-leverage solutions. Over the past five years, both have contributed to the NIH-funded COMPACT (Childhood Obesity Modeling for Prevention and Community Transformation) study.

Read the full story in The Source.