Nutrition Education in the Anthropocene

Toward Public and Planetary Health


  • Jennifer Lynn Wilkins Syracuse University and Cornell University



Anthropocene, Diet, Food Skills, Health Outcomes, Nutrition Education


Nutrition education has traditionally focused primarily on food and nutrition knowledge, motivations, and skills that facilitate behavior change. This essay argues that while this content remains an essential foundation for nutrition education, is it no longer sufficient. In the Anthropocene—the current distinct geological period during which human activity is the dominant influence on climate and the environment—the goal of nutrition framework is twofold: public health and planetary health. This approach requires that competencies in food systems, agriculture, and policy be included in the education and training of food and nutrition education practitioners and researchers. Academics need to ensure that such competencies are addressed in course content. Advocates need to be vigilant to ensure that sustainability, food systems, and community aspects related to nutrition and diet are incorporated into policy. The relevance of nutrition education will depend upon the degree to which this shift is successful.

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Author Biography

Jennifer Lynn Wilkins, Syracuse University and Cornell University

President, Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior; Professor of Practice Emeritus, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, Syracuse University; and Courtesy Professor of Practice, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University



How to Cite

Wilkins, J. (2020). Nutrition Education in the Anthropocene: Toward Public and Planetary Health. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(3), 59–69.

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