Press Release 05/2021

German Ethics Council discusses the multiple dimensions of nutritional responsibility

On Wednesday 23 June, the German Ethics Council holds its 2021 annual meeting. Members of the public are invited to follow the event via livestream. In addition, there are opportunities for active participation.

The question of who is responsible for a healthy diet, and to what extent, offers potential for discussion. The debate focuses not least on the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, which increases the likelihood of chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus type 2, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer in adulthood. The secondary diseases associated with overweight and obesity constitute a significant public health problem. Obesity is also an important risk factor for severe Covid 19.

At the same time, public awareness concerning healthy eating seems to have increased in recent years, 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.

During its annual meeting, the German Ethics Council will address the significance of “nutritional responsibility” oscillating between the poles of self-regulation and external control.

The event will focus on the questions of how nutritional responsibility can be understood and shaped in the 21st century, what significance medical or neurobiological findings have in this context, and what role various social actors play in communicating and implementing appropriate measures to promote healthy eating.

The scientific reflection is accompanied by presentations from civil society initiatives, who will introduce their ideas on promoting responsible nutrition.

More information, including about the programme and participation in the annual meeting, can be found (in German) at

The event is broadcast live at and freely accessible. Prior registration is desired and is mandatory for active participation in forums A, B and C. The number of participants in the forums is limited. Early registration is therefore advisable. However, all forums can also be followed via livestream without registration.

During blocks I and III of the event, questions can be submitted anonymously via an online tool. The questions will be screened by members of the Ethics Council and fed into the discussion – bundled if necessary.

For the hearing impaired, subtitling will be provided throughout the event.

Participants are invited to join the discussion on Twitter using #Ernährungsverantwortung.