Meet the new advisory board chair

Stefan Swartling PetersonProfessor Stefan Swartling Peterson is our recently elected chairman of the Uppsala Health Summit’s Advisory Board. In this interview, Professor Swartling introduces us to his work and shares his reflections about global food systems and their impact on our health.

Stefan: I am now a professor of Global Transformations for Health at Karolinska Institutet, a Guest Professor at Uppsala and Makerere Universities, and connected to UNICEF Sweden.  Across these many affiliations, I am trying to take forward the agenda we set out in A future for the world’s children? A WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission 

What inspires you in your professional career?

Stefan: Fundamentally, children have a right to grow up in healthy food-, physical- and social environments. A right which our societies around the world now deny them.

As a global health and children’s health researcher, what is your perspective on the relation between food systems and public health challenges? What will it take for countries to move forward on the agenda to create sustainable food systems promoting our health?

Stefan: The food system, and local food environments where children grow up, now have two out of three children in the world not getting the food that they need to grow up healthy – getting too much, too little, or the wrong kind of food. At the same time, one-third of food is destroyed from field to fork, and the food system produces one-third of greenhouse gas emissions and threatens biodiversity. So, it’s a broken system, and it will take getting science and activism aligned to fix it.

Finally, what are your expectations for this year’s Uppsala Health Summit?

Stefan: I expect UHS Healthy Lives from Sustainable Food Systems to transform the fields of “healthy” and “sustainable” foods towards the goal of Sustainable Health: health and wellbeing for all, while staying within planetary boundaries.

Last modified: 2022-06-02