Equity, food security and health equity in the Asia Pacific region

Sharon Friel, Phillip Baker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    What, and how much, people eat is a response to their socio-political, socio-economic, socio-environmental and socio-cultural environments. Good nutrition is central to good health. Globally, health has improved for many but not for everyone equally. That food and nutrition-related health is unequally distributed is a marker of societal failure. For some individuals, communities and even nations, it is a matter of not having enough food, of being unable to afford food and there being little nutritious food readily available. For others there is an over abundance of food but its nutritional quality is compromised, access to healthy food is poor and cost of food is high relative to other commodities. Human development and poverty reduction in the Asia Pacific region cannot be achieved without improving nutrition in an equitable way. There is no biological reason for the scale of difference in health, including diet-related health that is observed in the Asia Pacific region. That it exists is unethical and inequitable. Asymmetric economic growth, unequal improvements in daily living conditions, unequal distribution of technical developments and suppression of human rights have seen health inequities perpetuate and worsen, particularly over the last three decades. Addressing diet-related health inequities requires attention to the underlying structural drivers and inequities in conditions of daily living that disempower individuals, social groups and even nations from the pursuit of good nutrition and health. These are matters of economic and social policy at the global, regional and national level.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)620-632
    JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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