'Whole systems approach to agriculture and human health' needed, say health professionals

31 May 2018

The Faculty of Public Health, representing around 4,000 health professionals, has called on the government to recognise public health as a public good in farm policy.

In their submission to the Defra ‘Health and Harmony’ consultation, the group recognised the government’s support for the basic premise that public money must be spent only on those things that provide value to the public as a whole.

However, they noted that “In its current iteration, the consultation does not mention human population health as a public good, and this is an omission that we wish to be corrected. Population health as a public good in fact, should underpin and inform all aspects of the agriculture bill.”

To achieve this and make meaningful changes required to improve health outcomes, the Faculty of Public Health championed a new UK Agriculture Bill that:

  • Considers a whole systems approach to agriculture and human health.
  • Places human health at the centre of the bill and throughout the bill.
  • Delivers clear benefit for population health across the socioeconomic gradient.
  • Prioritises animal welfare practices that minimise need for use of antibiotics.
  • Focuses on agriculture practices that support a healthy environment and minimise impact on our natural ecology and biodiversity.
  • Reflects a global view.
  • Aligns with key international goals of which the UK is a signatory (e.g. UN Sustainable Development Goals)

See our 'Making the Health case for SFC - a tool for Public Health' report from University of the West of England


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk 

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