Opinions differ when it comes to eating. Not only the question of what goes on the plate, but also who and to what extent is responsible for a healthy diet offer potential for discussion. The high prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, which increase the likelihood of chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus type 2, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer in adulthood, is one of the main topics of debate. The secondary diseases associated with overweight and obesity constitute a significant public health problem.
At the same time, public awareness concerning healthy eating seems to have increased, as the 2019 nutrition report of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture suggests. According to the report, 91 % of Germans attach importance to healthy eating. The figures are surprising and at the same time show a discrepancy between awareness and reality, which also raises questions about appropriate nutrition communication, nutrition education and regulation.
At its Annual Meeting, the German Ethics Council will address the significance of “nutritional responsibility” oscillating between the poles of self-regulation and control. The event will focus on the question of how nutritional responsibility can be understood and shaped in the 21st century and what role various social actors play in communicating and implementing appropriate measures to promote healthy eating. The scientific reflection is accompanied by the work of civil society actors, who will present their ideas on promoting responsible nutrition. The Annual Meeting addresses the following questions:
- Who bears responsibility for a balanced diet – individuals, society, institutions or the state?
- What if the various prerequisites for a healthy diet (e.g. time, money, level of knowledge) are not guaranteed?
- What role do habits, framework conditions and decision-making architectures play?
- Which communication strategies and channels are appropriate to raise awareness for a healthy and balanced diet?
- What responsibility do the food industry and the media have for advertising and selling products and services?
The 2021 Annual Meeting takes up the theme of the meeting planned for 2020. The event had to be postponed due to the Corona pandemic. If possible, the meeting in summer 2021 will take place as a physical event, but we are also considering a hybrid format.