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About this book

Ensuring optimal diets and nutrition for the global population is a grand challenge fraught with many contentious issues. To achieve food security for all and protect health, we need functional, equitable, and sustainable food systems. Food systems are highly complex networks of individuals and institutions that depend on governance and policy leadership.
This book explains how interconnected food systems and policies affect diets and nutrition in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. In tandem with food policy, food systems determine the availability, affordability, and nutritional quality of the food supply, which influences the diets that people are willing and able to consume. Readers will become familiar with both domestic and international food policy processes and actors, and they will be able to critically analyze and debate how policy and science affect diet and nutrition outcomes.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Food is highly valued by society for many different reasons. Not only is food critical to human survival, but it is also important for nourishment and health, livelihoods dependent on food systems, economies growing through shared food supply chains and trade, peace and prosperity, and thriving cultures and traditions. Food comes from “food systems,” which encompass everything from food production to its consumption. Food systems are shaped by actors and policies that determine their functionality and priorities. This book aims to provide readers with an understanding of the landscape of food systems in high-, middle-, and low-income countries, and explain how food policies and interconnected food systems affect the diets and nutrition of populations all over the world.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Introduction to Major Concepts and Frameworks

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Food Systems, Food Environments, and Consumer Behavior

Abstract
Food is critical to good nutrition and health, but it is also essential to culture, society, tradition, religion, and individual values. Food systems consist of everybody and everything involved in bringing food from “farm to fork.” This chapter provides an overview of food systems and the key concepts necessary to understand how food systems function. Food systems consist of all the components and activities related to the production, processing, distribution, preparation, and consumption of food. Farmers and other food producers, consumers, businesses, civil society groups, and governments play major roles in the food system. Food system activities affect health and nutrition outcomes, as well as socio-economic status and the environment. Food supply chains, food environments, and consumer behavior represent three major components of food systems.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Chapter 3. Food Policy

Abstract
This chapter introduces the concepts of food policy and governance. Food policy affects how food systems operate and how consumers, producers, and other stakeholders make decisions. Food governance involves making and implementing policy decisions. Governments, consumers, producers, businesses, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and many others play a role in developing, implementing, and participating in food policy and governance. Food policy has changed significantly in recent decades to reflect emerging global trends. Consumer and civil society groups increasingly advocate for holistic food policies that integrate policy across different areas and sectors relevant to the food system.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Changing Food Systems and Diets for Nutrition

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Nutritious Foods, Healthy Diets, and Contributions to Health

Abstract
This chapter introduces the concept of diets and explains how diets affect health. Diets are composed of foods that range in healthfulness and nutrition. Many different factors influence a person’s diet. Healthy diets meet an individual’s nutritional needs and support overall health. Dietary patterns vary by region, but global diets are less than optimal. These suboptimal diets directly affect nutrition and health outcomes. Poor diets are now considered a top risk factor for death and disability.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Chapter 5. The Multiple Burdens of Malnutrition

Abstract
This chapter explains the importance of nutrition in the life cycle and the impact of malnutrition across generations. Malnutrition takes different forms: undernutrition (underweight, stunting, and wasting); micronutrient deficiencies; and overweight and obesity. These forms of malnutrition exist in all countries, whether developed or developing, and can also coexist within countries, communities, households, and individuals. The chapter discusses the global burden of malnutrition, its causes, and the consequences for health.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Chapter 6. Transformations Across Diets and Food Systems

Abstract
This chapter explains how our changing world has shaped food systems and diets. Although healthy diets and nutritious foods are essential to health, current global dietary patterns are suboptimal. Over time, changes to global food systems have led to less healthy diets. The “nutrition transition” refers to the significant dietary, lifestyle, and epidemiological shifts that occur as global incomes rise. Changes to global food supplies, environments, and prices have expanded access to both healthy and unhealthy food options for consumers. The transformation of diets and food systems is driven by globalization, trade, urbanization, and consumer preference.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Chapter 7. Drivers Shaping Food Systems

Abstract
Food systems are affected by many different factors in complex ways. These influential factors are considered “drivers” when their impacts occur consistently over a period of time and thus durably alter food system activities and outcomes. Drivers may be endogenous to food systems, but many are independent and exogenous. Food system drivers may be governed or shaped by external actors, and impacts may be deliberate or unintentional. Drivers can affect every component of the food system, from food supply and environment to consumer demand. This chapter focuses on major macro-level drivers, which include environmental, socio-cultural, political and economic, and demographic drivers. The chapter also discusses the present-day challenges and future opportunities presented by innovation, technology, and infrastructure.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

The Influence of Food Policy on Diets and Nutrition

Frontmatter

Chapter 8. Policies Affecting Food Supply Chains

Abstract
Food and agricultural policies shape what types of food are produced and their movement through the food supply chain at the global, regional, and local levels. Well-functioning, ideal food supply chains provide sufficient safe, nutritious food for everyone around the world. This chapter discusses the many different types of food supply policies relevant to diets and nutrition, as well as the role that different actors play in shaping these policies. Policies that affect food production and trade; processing and packaging; and markets, distribution, and public procurement represent opportunities to improve supply chains and leverage them for nutrition and health goals.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Chapter 9. Policies Affecting Food Environments and Consumer Behavior

Abstract
Food environment policies affect the places where consumers engage with the food system. Different food environment policies can influence food availability, affordability, and marketing, all of which shape food choice and dietary quality. This chapter describes how optimal food environments can support healthy diets and nutrition. Select policy areas that influence diets and nutrition are discussed, including food marketing and advertising, market-based subsidies and taxes, labeling, food-based dietary guidelines and mass media campaigns, consumer awareness and nutrition education, and nudge and choice architecture. The application of policy action within physical spaces and places is also described.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

New Challenges to Achieving Healthy Diets for Nutrition

Frontmatter

Chapter 10. Sustainable Diets: Aligning Food Systems and the Environment

Abstract
The need to ensure sufficient nutritious diets for all the world’s people without putting further undue pressure on the environment presents a monumental challenge for the global community. Food systems depend on natural resources and the environment, yet agriculture is a major driver of environmental degradation and climate change. Given the impending challenges posed by population growth, migration, and climate change, securing a sustainable future will require dietary patterns to shift significantly over the coming decades. The concept of “sustainable diets” attempts to achieve these goals by bridging the divide between agriculture and the environment. This chapter discusses the history of sustainable diets, as well as the health and environmental outcomes, ethical conundrums, research limitations, and policy implications associated with these diets.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Chapter 11. The Future of Food: Shaping Diets and Nutrition

Abstract
 Technology holds the power to transform the way people produce, transport, prepare, and consume food. Technological innovations abound at every stage of the food supply chain. These technologies hold the potential to let farmers produce food more efficiently, processors store and transport products more safely, and companies develop unique foods. Whether consumers want more information or simply more convenience, these advances promise to deliver a more transparent, digitally connected eating experience personalized to their needs. This chapter focuses on new technologies that are changing the operation of food supplies, demand for certain types of foods, and culture shared around food.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Chapter 12. Conclusion and Ways Forward

Abstract
In recent years, many have called for a transformation to our food systems for the benefit of present and future generations. This book has illustrated the importance of food to society, human health, the planet, and economic prosperity. However, the systems that make, mold, move, and monetize our food need to be nurtured, governed, and maintained if they are to generate positive outcomes for society. Various actors and interventions are needed to shape food systems in ways that benefit people and the planet. Through better legislation, coherent policies, political will, commitment, and accountability, change can happen.
Jessica Fanzo, Claire Davis

Backmatter

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