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Urban Food Systems for Better Diets, Nutrition, and Health in Low and Middle-Income Countries

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Jef Leroy
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Urban Food Systems for Better Diets, Nutrition, and Health
MAY 17, 2019 - 12:15 PM TO 01:45 PM EDT

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Urban Food Systems for Better Diets, Nutrition, and Health in Low and Middle-Income Countries

  1. 1. Urban Food Systems for Better Diets, Nutrition, and Health in Low and Middle-Income Countries Jef Leroy Washington, DC May 16, 2019
  2. 2. Urban diets are changing • Poor-quality diets drive all forms of malnutrition • “Nutrition transition” faster in urban than rural areas • Traditional diets consisting of coarse grains, staple cereals, and pulses → diets high in sugar, salt, saturated fat • Increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods NUTRITIONAL STATUS 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 China Malaysia Philippines Thailand India Grams/person/day Sales of ultraprocessed foods (2005 to 2017) 2005 2017 Source: Barry Popkin, Euromonitor
  3. 3. Urban diets are changing • Poor-quality diets drive all forms of malnutrition • “Nutrition transition” faster in urban than rural areas • Traditional diets consisting of coarse grains, staple cereals, and pulses → diets high in sugar, salt, saturated fat • Increased consumption of ultra-processed foods NUTRITIONAL STATUS Cell Metabolism, 2019
  4. 4. What shapes urban diets?
  5. 5. IFPRI’s urban research program will focus on the drivers of urban diets: • Consumer and household • Food environment • Food system What shapes urban diets?
  6. 6. Individual and household factors shape diets of the urban poor
  7. 7. Individual and household factors shape diets of the urban poor • Urban dwellers purchase most of their food: • Livelihoods often depend on unstable employment • Less access to social safety nets (compared to rural counterparts), leaving the poor vulnerable to shocks. • Women engaged in the workforce with limited childcare options • Time constraints and limited access to cooking facilities: • Convenience of processed and ultra-processed ready-to-eat snacks and foods, street foods, and quick meals • Risk of overconsumption of energy, added sugar, and salt
  8. 8. Urban diets are inextricably linked to the food environment
  9. 9. Urban diets depend on the food environment • Urban dwellers generally have access to a more diverse food supply than individuals in rural areas, but… • …are exposed to • energy-dense and nutrient-poor ultra-processed foods • aggressive marketing of ultra-processed foods • modernizing food retail sector, accelerated spread of supermarkets
  10. 10. The urban food environment is part of the food system
  11. 11. The urban food environment is part of the food system • Food environment is “interface” between the consumer and the food system • Increases in trade and globalization have changed the urban food system
  12. 12. Addressing the urban poor’s nutrition problems requires better evidence IFPRI’s urban research program seeks to generate better evidence on… • Diets • What do poor urban dwellers eat? • What are the drivers of healthy and unhealthy food choices? • Food environments • How healthy is the food environment? • How does it affect food choice? ? … to inform policies and programs aimed at improving the diets, nutrition and health of the urban poor.

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