Food policies for physical and mental health

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for the largest burden of early mortality and are predicted to cost the
global community more than US $30 trillion over the next 20 years. Unhealthy dietary habits, in large part driven by
substantial changes to global food systems, are recognised as major contributors to many of the common NCDs,
including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Recent evidence now indicates that unhealthy diets are also
risk factors for mental disorders, particularly depression and dementia. This affords substantial scope to leverage on
the established and developing approaches to the nutrition-related NCDs to address the large global burden of these
mental disorders and reinforces the imperative for governments take substantial actions in regards to improving the
food environment and consequent population health via policy initiatives.

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