We are what we eat: Food, health and inequality – with Anna Taylor and Sarah Hickey

Aug 21, 11:01 PM

Food is crucial to our health, but it is also a driver of ill health, health inequalities, and damage to the environment. 

The second part of the National Food Strategy, led by Henry Dimbleby, was published in July 2021. It is the most comprehensive review of the entire food and drink system in the UK for many years. It recognises the upsides of the food system in providing affordable, convenient food for a growing population. But it is strong on the downsides – the current system is unsustainable and the food produced and consumed is injuring health and the environment.

The strategy made 14 radical recommendations for England’s food system – many requiring legislation. The government is currently reviewing the report and is due to produce a White Paper in early 2022. 

In this podcast, we discuss two areas covered by the review – reducing the amount of junk food, and diet-related inequality – as well as viewing this alongside the government’s 2020 obesity strategy. What should the government do next to make a difference to these large and complex challenges?

Our Chief Executive Dr Jennifer Dixon discusses this with two expert guests:
  • Anna Taylor is Executive Director of the Food Foundation, where she’d been since 2015, and is a national and international expert in nutrition. She’s advised the Mayor of London and the GLA, on the food matters that affect Londoners, and also served as Chief Independent Adviser to Henry Dimbleby for the development of the National Food Strategy.
  • Sarah Hickey has been leading the childhood obesity programme at Guys and St Thomas’s Foundation as Programme Director since 2016. This programme aims to close the inequality gap in childhood obesity in Lambeth and Southwark working with communities, schools business and others on the ground. She previously worked as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Cabinet Office.

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