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Symposium Climate Change, Nutrition and Health: Global Challenges and Potential Solutions

The Heidelberg Institute of Global Health at the University of Heidelberg organized the international symposium “Climate Change, Nutrition and Health: Global Challenges and Potential Solutions“ on May 5 - 7, 2021. This symposium was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
The relationships between climate change and nutrition constitute global challenges that require holistic solutions. Global warming, increased weather variability, and weather extremes threaten fragile food systems across the world. Populations in the Global South are at increased risk of health impacts as they are disproportionately exposed to climate change hazards, their livelihoods strongly depend on rainfed agriculture, and their capacity to adapt is limited. In parallel, unsustainable food consumption patterns and agricultural systems are among the major emitters of greenhouse gases, water waste, and land use, and contribute to rising prevalence of obesity and cardio-metabolic diseases.
This international symposium aimed at disseminating the current knowledge basis and exchanging the available methods for research into the relationships of climate change and nutrition. Distinguished speakers from climate change research, global health, agricultural sciences, and nutrition science shared their insights and discussed potential solutions to the challenges imposed by the nexus climate change-nutrition-health.

Wednesday, May 5 – Impacts and Mitigation

15:00-15:15  Welcome and introduction (Ina Danquah and Rainer Sauerborn, Heidelberg)

15:15-15:30  Climate Change and the World Health Summit (Axel Pries, Berlin)

Climate change impacts on nutritional status

Session chair: Rainer Sauerborn, Heidelberg

15:30-16:00   Planetary health and climate change, Andy Haines, LSHTM, London

Time Topic Presenter
16:00-16:15 Projecting deaths from undernutrition from empirical time series in Nouna, Burkina Faso Kristine Belesova, LSHTM, London and Heidelberg
16:15-16:30 Impact of ambient air CO2 concentration on nutrient content of food plants and consequences for human nutrition adequacy  Matthew Smith, Harvard University, Boston


Session chair: Andrew Haines, London

17:00-17:30 Keynote: The global syndemic of obesity, undernutrition and climate change,

                                    William Dietz, George Washington University, Washington D.C.

Time Topic Presenter
17:30-17:45 Environmental impacts of obesity  Adam Drewnowski, University of Washington, Seattle 
17:45-18:00 Healthy dietary patterns to mitigate climate change  Frank Hu, Harvard University, Boston
18:00-18:15 Life-cycle analysis (LCA) for greenhouse gas emissions of foods Michael Clark, University of Oxfors, Oxford
18:15-18:30 Optimization modeling for the design of sustainable diets Corné van Dooren, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam


Session chair: Corné van Dooren, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Time Topic Presenter
19:00-19:15 Sustainable diet index in the NutriNet-Santé Study Julia Baudry, Sorbonne, Paris
19:15-19:30 Nutrition-related health co-benefits as a motivator for European households to reduce their carbon foot print  Alina Herrmann, HIGH, Heidelberg
19:30-19:45 Co-benefits of sustainable agricultural interventions Lindsay Jaacks, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh and Boston


Thursday, May 6 – Adaptation

Session chair: Ali Sié, CRSN, Nouna
15:00-15:30 Keynote: Nutrition interventions in Africa, Wafaie Fawzi, Harvard University, Boston

Time Topic Presenter
15:30-15:45 Nutrition interventions in the INDEPTH population cohorts in Africa - an overview Osman Sankoh, Statistics Council Sierra Leone, Freetown
15:45-16:00 Nutrition interventions in Kenya und Burkina Faso Isabel Mank, HIGH, Heidelberg
16:00-16:15 Nutrition interventions in Madagascar Christopher Golden, Harvard University, Boston


Session chair: Stephen Munga, KEMRI, Kisumu
16:45-17:15 Keynote: Evaluation of a nutrition-sensitive intervention in Bangladesh, Sabine Gabrysch, PIK, Charité, HIGH, Berlin 

Time Topic Presenter
 17:15-17:30 Modeling climate change, agriculture and food production   Christoph Gornott, University of Kassel, Potsdam and Kassel
17:30-17:45 Climate change adaptation projects in Burkina Faso Ali Sié, CRSN, Nouna
17:45-18:00 Lifetime cumulative rainfall exposure and risk of chronic undernutrition in Burkina Faso Edmund Yeboah, HIGH, Heidelberg


18:30  “Food systems and global health” - university-wide event


Held together with the “Student Society for Global Health" and the "Heidelberg Center for the Environment"


Invited keynotes:

Walt Willett, Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Boston

“Food in the Antrhopocene: The EAT Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems”


Till Bärnighausen, Heidelberg Institute for Global Health, Heidelberg University.

“Research challenges in Global Health”