The report released last week by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition warns that only a response comparable in scale and commitment to that directed against HIV/AIDS and malaria will be sufficient to meet the challenge of changing food systems (see

Our independent experts used modelling and trend analysis to scrutinize diets and food systems and how these could change by 2030. Three billion people from 193 countries now have poor-quality diets, and populations in nearly half of all countries are increasingly experiencing serious under-nutrition that is coupled with weight gain and obesity. We find that the risk posed by poor diets to mortality and morbidity is now greater than the combined risks of unsafe sex, alcohol, drug and tobacco use.

As director of the Global Panel's secretariat, I have worked closely with the panel in producing this report, which recommends that food systems should be repositioned from feeding people to nourishing them. Action must go beyond agriculture to encompass trade, the environment and health, harnessing the power of the private sector and empowering consumers to demand better diets.