One Health - a concept considered as the fundamental basis for society's health problems


The “One health” is a new, rapidly developing scientific research stream that examines the interconnections between human, animal, and environmental health in a multidisciplinary approach addressing the complex biological and social system composed by the different components of human life and activities and aims at studying their interactions at the local, national, and global level (Rüegg, 2018).

“This issue of the Global Fruit & Veg Newsletter shares three articles that illustrate the relevance of the One Health concept to address issues related to the food system and highlight the importance for policymakers to adopt this holistic view of health.

The first article (de Macedo Couto, 2020) presents on one hand the interconnections between our living environment and our health. On the other hand, it highlights the impacts of dietary pattern transition not only on our health but also on the planet health, and more particularly on greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and species extinctions. Faced with the challenges of our society and the objectives of sustainable development, the authors call for a transdisciplinary approach with a One Health perspective.

The second article (Donkersley, 2020) shares a specific example on how species decline or extinction is interconnected to the environmental changes, to human health, and to the food system by presenting the case of honeybees decline. The authors show that indeed, honeybee health cannot be separated from the health of the environment that surrounds them, as a single health issue for honeybees can make the entire agricultural and food system vulnerable, because of its dependence on the pollinating and honey-producing activities. Thus, declining honeybee health is potentially threatening food security, which requires a One Health approach.

Still on the theme of biodiversity but from a different angle, the third article (Harris, 2022) reviews how biodiversity of fruit and vegetables supports dietary diversity for current human populations, and how it can be preserved and enhanced for future generations. Once more, an integrated and holistic approach is needed considering the potential win-wins and trade-offs for policy and action, building on food systems.

The articles presented in this edition strongly support the vision that that a transversal and holistic perspective is essential to tackle the challenges of our society.

Therefore, the 9th edition of EGEA Conference (20-22 September 2023) will be dedicated to the theme ” Diet, fruits & vegetables and One Health: what contributions?”. The objective of the conference will be to illustrate, through concrete examples from science, how fruit and vegetables may contribute to One Health, including human and environmental health, while addressing consumer’s behaviour, food security and social impacts).

As the co-chair of conference, I am honoured to invite you to take part in the dialogue and debate about this theme.

Enjoy reading this very enlightening issue and looking forward seeing you at the EGEA conference!

Elio Riboli Professor of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention.
School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK.
About the author

Elio Riboli is Professor of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at Imperial College, London. He has conducted important research on the effects of alcohol, tobacco, diet and environmental exposures in the aetiology of cancers of the respiratory and gastro-intestinal tracts. Around 1995, he initiated, and has since been coordinating the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) that included over half-a-million participants in 10 European Countries. Recognizing the scientific potential of storing DNA and blood samples from study participants, he established the first dedicated large-scale population biobanks based at the International Agency for Research on Cancer of WHO, in Lyon. This vision has provided an international resource for investigation of the role of diet, nutrition, metabolic, inflammatory and genetic factors in the aetiology of cancer and other chronic diseases. Recently, he has led research showing the deleterious effects of abdominal obesity and insulin resistance in the causation of several cancers and in increasing all-cause mortality in adult age.

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