A COVID-19 opportunity: Applying a systems approach to food security and noncommunicable diseases
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[Extract]. To the Editor, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are highly dependent on food imports from larger nations, with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Pacific islands combined importing almost $5 billion in food in 2018, and more than half of SIDS countries importing more than 80% of their food, much of it nutritionally poor and highly processed. This has been an important driver of high levels of obesity (>30% of adults), food insecurity, and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) (between 10-30% of adults) in these countries. The susceptibility of the SIDS food system to shocks in the supply chain of imported foods has been dramatically exposed in recent weeks through the growing COVID-19 pandemic with discussions focused on food security and vulnerability to climate change. The current crisis has accelerated the discourse on increasing food security, particularly in the CARICOM, as the region–which consists of 15 nations with a combined population of over 18 million–braces for a disruption in food imports from larger economies, and also due to border closures. Food security in the context on COVID-19 was high on the agenda at the Ninth Special Emergency Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on April 15, 2020, focusing on a regional approach instead of individual country approaches.
Murphy MM, Guariguata L, Samuels TA. A COVID-19 opportunity: Applying a systems approach to food security and noncommunicable diseases. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2020;44:e84. https://doi.org/10.26633/RPSP.2020.84
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