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An assessment of the potential consumption impacts of WHO dietary norms in OECD countries


  • Srinivasan, C.S.
  • Irz, Xavier
  • Shankar, Bhavani


The member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) have recently endorsed its Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. The strategy emphasizes the need to limit the consumption of saturated fats and trans fatty acids, salt and sugars, and to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables in order to combat the growing burden of non communicable diseases. Adherence to the norms recommended by the WHO would call for major changes in the consumption, production and trade of several key food products and several sectors of the food industry have expectedly raised serious concerns about the potential impact of these norms on their future growth prospects. This paper attempts a broad quantitative assessment of the consumption impacts of these norms in OECD countries using a mathematical programming approach. We find that adherence to the WHO norms would involve a significant decrease in the consumption of vegetable oils (30%), dairy products (28%), sugar (24%), animal fats (30%) and meat (pig meat, 13.5%, mutton and goat 14.5%) and a significant increase in the human consumption of cereals (31%), fruits (25%) and vegetables (21%). The paper also explains the apparent dilemma that some OECD countries face when simultaneously trying to liberalise agricultural markets and promote healthy diets.
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  • Srinivasan, C.S. & Irz, Xavier & Shankar, Bhavani, 2006. "An assessment of the potential consumption impacts of WHO dietary norms in OECD countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 53-77, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:31:y:2006:i:1:p:53-77

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. S. Henson, 1991. "Linear Programming Analysis Of Constraints Upon Human Diets," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 380-393, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wadolowska, Lidia & Babicz-Zielinska, Ewa & Czarnocinska, Jolanta, 2008. "Food choice models and their relation with food preferences and eating frequency in the Polish population: POFPRES study," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 122-134, April.
    2. Irz, Xavier & Leroy, Pascal & Réquillart, Vincent & Soler, Louis-Georges, 2015. "Economic assessment of nutritional recommendations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 188-210.
    3. Linda Cobiac & Xavier Irz & Pascal Leroy & Vincent Requillart & Peter Scarborough & Louis Georges Soler, 2019. "Accounting for consumers’ preferences in the analysis of dietary recommendations," Post-Print hal-02244975, HAL.
    4. Xavier Irz, 2010. "Modeling physical quantities of food and nutrients consumed from aggregate data—with an application to Finland," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(3‐4), pages 293-304, May.
    5. Nordström, Jonas & Thunström, Linda, 2009. "The impact of tax reforms designed to encourage healthier grain consumption," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 622-634, May.
    6. Irz, Xavier & Leroy, Pascal & Réquillart, Vincent & Soler, Louis-Georges, 2016. "Welfare and sustainability effects of dietary recommendations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 139-155.
    7. Venturini, Luciano, 2006. "Food and Health: A European Perspective," Conference Papers 6684, University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy.
    8. Arnoult, Matthieu H. & Jones, Philip J. & Tranter, Richard B. & Tiffin, J. Richard & Traill, W. Bruce, 2008. "Modelling the likely impact of healthy eating guidelines on agriculture in England and Wales," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44331, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    9. Rickard, Bradley J. & Gonsalves, Jana L., 2008. "How would compliance with dietary recommendations affect revenues for agricultural producers?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 422-433, October.

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