A Global Value Chains Approach to Food, Healthy Diets, and Childhood Obesity

A Global Value Chains Approach to Food, Healthy Diets, and Childhood Obesity
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Listing Type: Publications

Gary Gereffi | Michelle Christian

A challenge associated with the nutrition transition in developing countries (i.e., simultaneous presence of over-nutrition and under-nutrition, both being most prevalent in the poorest population segments) is the integration of their markets into the global economy. This integration determined rapid and strong changes in the production and trade of agricultural goods in the developing countries as well as growing foreign direct investments in food processing and retailing, and the expansion of food advertisements with obvious implications for dietary patterns and the risk of obesity. For instance, changes in the production and trade of agricultural goods can easily explain the recent increase in the consumption of vegetable oils seen in most developing countries while changes in both foreign direct investments and global food marketing have certainly facilitated the consumption of highly-processed, energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods. This paper examines issues related to local and global trade and governance issues in global and local chains in this context. It provides a new understanding of how local and global trade and governance interact, highlighting power and inequality in global chains but also identifying scope for local action for more coherence between health and trade in food and diets.

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