Reproductive Health And The Industrialized Food System: A Point Of Intervention For Health Policy

ABSTRACT: What food is produced, and how, can have a critical impact on human nutrition and the environment, which in turn are key drivers of healthy human reproduction and development. The US food production system yields a large volume of food that is relatively low in cost for consumers but is often high in calories and low in nutritional value. In this article we examine the evidence that intensive use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and fossil fuel in food production, as well as chemicals in food packaging, are potentially harmful to human reproductive and developmental health.We conclude that policies to advance a healthy food system are necessary to prevent adverse reproductive health effects and avoid associated health costs among current and future generations. These policies include changes to the Farm Bill and the Toxic Substances Control Act, and greater involvement by the health care sector in supporting and sourcing food from urban agriculture programs, farmers’ markets, and local food outlets, as well as increasing understanding by clinicians of the links between reproductive health and industrialized food production.