Insight: Overconsumption and diet, from the Global Food Security programme

Video transcript

Video shows footage of people eating fast food

Video shows Sian Williams in a shop

Sian Williams, Science writer, Global Food Security programme
Overconsumption is a state in which food intake exceeds individual food requirements providing an excess supply of nutrients and energy which can result in malnutrition.

At the Global Food Security programme we’ve developed a new Insight publication exploring the challenge posed by the global overconsumption of food. This review considers the causes behind overconsumption as well as the ways we might look to tackle them.

Video shows world map images of obesity in females and energy consumption

On-screen caption: World map of obesity in females. Image: Lukepryke

On-screen caption: World map of energy consumption. Image: UN/FAO

Globally, overconsumption is a serious issue. Over one third of the adult population [are] now overweight or obese and so at risk to a number of chronic diseases costing the world economy and estimated $2Tn every year. But while overconsumption is a global issue, creating an unsustainable pressure on food production and planetary resources, it’s causes are often local. A complex range of biological, physical, economic and social factors determine how and what we eat. These factors in combination are known as our food environment with obesegenic food environments actually predisposing us to overconsume.

The Insight discusses how, in developed countries like the UK, food poverty can often be the root cause behind overconsumption. Households with limited food budgets, often basing their diets on convenience foods, which are relatively more affordable but commonly high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar, the most effective strategy to target the problem would impact on all the physical, social and economic factors behind overconsumption simultaneously using a range of dietary interventions to develop healthier food environments which encourage balanced diets and moderate consumption.

On-screen caption: Global Food Security Insight: Overconsumption. Find out more at

To find out more about overconsumption and influences on diet download the latest Insight publication from the Global Food Security website. We’d also love to hear your views so feel free to add your comments to the accompanying Insight blog post. You can find everything at


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