Contributions by food demand studies to the development of public policies in nutrition

Food choice in diet composition is a determinant of individual health status. Currently, there are gradually fewer conditions involving food scarcity and more involving excess food. Changes in income and relative prices generate measurable effects on the population's food intake patterns. Economic models have significant explanatory power for food demand, and the interactions between consumption, income, and prices are usually expressed as elasticity. However, the construction of some studies shows important shortcomings, especially for public policy application. This conceptual article discusses the potential contribution of food demand studies, suggesting improvements in the structural design of such studies with the inclusion of current nutritional concepts for redirecting the nutritional transition from under-nutrition to healthy eating, avoiding the present trend towards epidemic obesity.

Food Demand; Food Consumption; Nutritional Transition; Nutrition Programs and Policies

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