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To position the concept of sustainability within the context of food security.
An overview of the interrelationships between food security and sustainability based on a non-systematic literature review and informed discussions based principally on a quasi-historical approach from meetings and reports.
International and global food security and nutrition.
The Rome Declaration on World Food Security in 1996 defined its three basic dimensions as: availability, accessibility and utilization, with a focus on nutritional well-being. It also stressed the importance of sustainable management of natural resources and the elimination of unsustainable patterns of food consumption and production. In 2009, at the World Summit on Food Security, the concept of stability/vulnerability was added as the short-term time indicator of the ability of food systems to withstand shocks, whether natural or man-made, as part of the Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security. More recently, intergovernmental processes have emphasized the importance of sustainability to preserve the environment, natural resources and agro-ecosystems (and thus the overlying social system), as well as the importance of food security as part of sustainability and vice versa.
Sustainability should be considered as part of the long-term time dimension in the assessment of food security. From such a perspective the concept of sustainable diets can play a key role as a goal and a way of maintaining nutritional well-being and health, while ensuring the sustainability for future food security. Without integrating sustainability as an explicit (fifth?) dimension of food security, today’s policies and programmes could become the very cause of increased food insecurity in the future.
Assessing how the Italian average food pattern would be affected in terms of consumption structure and expenditure by the adoption of nutritional prescriptions.
A linear programming model with nutritional and food habits constraints was employed to generate a pattern following recommended daily allowances (RDAs) and nutritional guidelines provided for the Italian population.
Food consumption data from ISTAT Household Budget Survey of Italian population.
Italian families investigated by the Family Budget Survey of the National Institute of Statistics.
Compared to actual behaviour, the pattern generated by the model implies an increased consumption of vegetables, pasta, rice and fresh fish, and a decreased consumption of meats, bread, sugars and cakes, and especially fats and oils. At given prices, total expenditure is lower than actual expenditure.
Differences between actual behaviour and the generated pattern are consistent with long-term trends in food consumption. The adoption of RDAs is unlikely to result in an increased food expenditure.
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