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The nutrition transition in high‐ and low‐income countries: what are the policy lessons?

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  • Barry Popkin
  • Shu Wen Ng

Abstract

This article examines the speed of changes in diets, activity patterns, and body composition, summarizes major dietary changes, and provides some sense of the way the burden of obesity is shifting from the rich to the poor globally. The focus is on the lower‐ and middle‐income world with some examples from higher‐income countries. Then macro policy options are examined. A case study of edible oil pricing in China is presented. The challenge is for the agricultural economics profession to focus on this major global issue—one which challenges some of the earlier paradigms of food policy and agricultural development.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Popkin & Shu Wen Ng, 2007. "The nutrition transition in high‐ and low‐income countries: what are the policy lessons?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 37(s1), pages 199-211, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:37:y:2007:i:s1:p:199-211
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-0862.2007.00245.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-0862.2007.00245.x
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    1. Delgado, Christopher L. & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Steinfeld, Henning & Ehui, Simeon K. & Courbois, Claude, 1999. "Livestock to 2020: the next food revolution," 2020 vision briefs 61, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Popkin, Barry M., 1999. "Urbanization, Lifestyle Changes and the Nutrition Transition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 1905-1916, November.
    3. Monteiro, C.A. & Conde, W.L. & Popkin, B.M., 2004. "The Burden of Disease from Undernutrition and Overnutrition in Countries Undergoing Rapid Nutrition Transition: A View from Brazil," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 94(3), pages 433-434.
    4. Du, Shufa & Mroz, Tom A. & Zhai, Fengying & Popkin, Barry M., 2004. "Rapid income growth adversely affects diet quality in China--particularly for the poor!," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 1505-1515, October.
    5. Delgado, Christopher L. & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Meijer, Siet, 2001. "Livestock To 2020: The Revolution Continues," 2001: International Trade in Livestock Products Symposium, January 2001, Auckland, New Zealand 14560, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    6. Guo, Xuguang & Mroz, Thomas A & Popkin, Barry M & Zhai, Fengying, 2000. "Structural Change in the Impact of Income on Food Consumption in China, 1989-1993," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 737-760, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Burggraf, Christine & Teuber, Ramona & Brosig, Stephan & Meier, Toni, 2018. "Review of a priori dietary quality indices in relation to their construction criteria," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 747-764.
    2. Burggraf, Christine, 2017. "Russian demand for dietary quality: Nutrition transition, diet quality measurement, and health investment theory," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 86, number 86.
    3. Kimenju, Simon & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "The Nutrition Transition and Indicators of Child Malnutrition," GlobalFood Discussion Papers 195709, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    4. Harris Neeliah & Bhavani Shankar, 2008. "Is nutritional improvement a cause or a consequence of economic growth? Evidence from Mauritius," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 17(8), pages 1-11.
    5. Ren, Yanjun & Castro Campos, Bente & Loy, Jens-Peter & Brosig, Stephan, 2019. "Low-income and overweight in China: Evidence from a life-course utility model," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1753-1767.
    6. Jean Joël Ambagna & Sandrine Dury & Marie Claude Dop, 2019. "Estimating trends in prevalence of undernourishment: advantages of using HCES over the FAO approach in a case study from Cameroon," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 11(1), pages 93-107, February.
    7. repec:zbw:iamost:269539 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Burggraf, Christine, 2017. "Russian demand for dietary quality: Nutrition transition, diet quality measurement, and health investment theory," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies 269539, Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
    9. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:17:y:2008:i:8:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Boncinelli, Fabio & Riccioli, Francesco & Marone, Enrico, 2015. "Do forests help to keep my body mass index low?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 11-17.
    11. Ren, Yanjun & Li, Hui & Wang, Xiaobing, 2019. "Family income and nutrition-related health: Evidence from food consumption in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 232(C), pages 58-76.
    12. Salois, Matthew & Tiffin, Richard & Balcombe, Kelvin, 2010. "Calorie and Nutrient Consumption as a Function of Income: A Cross-Country Analysis," MPRA Paper 24726, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
    14. Simon C. Kimenju & Matin Qaim, 2016. "The nutrition transition and indicators of child malnutrition," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(3), pages 571-583, June.
    15. Kimenju, Simon C. & Qaim, Matin, "undated". "The nutrition transition and indicators of child malnutrition," 2016 Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246385, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).

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