Theory & Struggle

Food, diet and the pandemic

Theory & Struggle (2021), 122, (1), 46–57.

Abstract

This article is concerned with the ways that diet-related health outcomes (including increased incidence and severity of Covid-19) are linked to the system of provision for food. Worldwide obesity has tripled in the past three decades, creating an immense strain on health services, with poor diet associated with 22 per cent of global deaths in 2017. We show that neoliberal and financialised global systems of food production have intensified dysfunctional practices such as land grabs and price speculation. Moreover, capitalist expansion of production inevitably creates pressures to increase consumption such that malnutrition from overeating runs neck and neck with undernutrition on a global scale. It is shown how food corporates (producers, retailers, and so on) are instrumental in creating avenues to affect our diets in ways that are far more effective than government campaigns to promote healthy eating. It is these powerful systemic corporate interests that need to be addressed in order to improve diets and consequent health outcomes.

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Author details

Bayliss, Kate

Fine, Ben