26. Walter Willett, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Walter Willett is a physician and Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He also co-chairs the EAT-Lancet Commission, a group of 37 world-leading scientists working to determine how to provide a healthy diet for a future population of 10 billion people while respecting planetary boundaries. Dr. Willet’s career has centered on the development of methods to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. His research has provided unparalleled insight into the long-term health consequences of our food choices.

Walter Willett: “Look at where you are and start off working there. Ultimately at a much larger scale, you'd like to have an impact. But if you don't have control of the dials and the levers at that level, your own food service and wherever you happen to be working or studying can often be improved a lot, and you learn a lot from that experience. I certainly have. Almost everybody has part of their life in a workplace or in their community that they could be making some improvements. And a lot of times that's where the biggest changes start.”

00:22 Intro to Walter
02:43 Connecting human health and the climate crisis
04:24 The Great Acceleration Theory
06:29 Three pillars for food systems transformation
08:47 Harnessing community action to catalyze systems change
10:30 The history of our food choices and related complexity of shifting diets
13:31 Levers to positively influence population diet quality
16:21 What global consumption habits tell us about public health trends
18:02 Lessons from effective grassroots movements
20:50 Building trust, providing better data, and acknowledging uncertainty
24:01 Integrating justice into food systems solutions
26:37 Generational awareness and action on sustainability
28:28 Embracing disciplinary diversity for systems transformation
29:36 Why patience is the #1 skill for change management
31:40 Takeaways for changemakers


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*The views expressed by the guests in this podcast don't necessarily represent the host’s views, nor those of his employer.

26. Walter Willett, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
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