Geography of Food and Health [OPTIONAL THEME]

"This optional theme is based on the underlying premise that the health of a population is the direct consequence of having enough food, a balanced diet and reduced susceptibility to disease. It covers a large are of knowledge, and time constants mean that some parts may need to be covered in breadth rather than depth.

The topic on health serves as an introduction to the theme, with more detailed coverage required for the remaining two topics on food and disease. These latter sections relate to some of the United Nation's Millennium Goals (MDGs), particularly those that challenge hunger and combat disease.

Detailed case studies are recommended, especially when impacts and evaluations are required. Case studies of two diseases are required, chosen from two different categories out of the following three: vector-borne, water-borne or sexually transmitted disease." (Geography syllabus, IBO 2010)

  1. Health
  2. Food
  3. Disease


The definitions of the terms used in studying this theme, "The geography of food and health", vary from one source to another. To avoid confusion, the following definitions are given and expected of students.

Food Miles
A measure of the distance that food travels from its source to the consumer. This can be given in units of actual distance or of energy consumed during transport.
Health-adjusted life expectancy, based on life expectancy at birth but including an adjustment for time spent in poor health (due to disease and/or injury). It is the equivalent number of years in full health that a newborn can expect to live, based on current rates of ill health and mortality.
Transnational corporation (TNC)
A firm that owns or controls productive operations in more than one country though foreign direct investment.