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To examine changes in sales of highly processed foods, including infant formulas, in countries joining free trade agreements (FTAs) with the US.
Annual country-level data for food and beverage sales come from Euromonitor International. Analyses are conducted in a comparative interrupted time-series (CITS) framework using multivariate random-effects linear models, adjusted for key confounders: gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, percent of the population living in urban areas and female labor force participation rate. Memberships in other FTAs and investment treaties are also explored as possible confounders.
Changes are assessed between 2002 and 2016.
Ten countries joining US FTAs are compared with eleven countries without US FTAs in force; countries are matched on national income level, world region and World Trade Organization membership.
After countries join a US FTA, sales are estimated to increase by: 0·89 (95 % CI 0·16, 1·6; P = 0·016) kg per capita per annum for ultra-processed products, 0·81 (95 % CI 0·47, 1·1; P < 0·001) kg per capita per annum for processed culinary ingredients and 0·17 (95 % CI 0·052, 0·29; P = 0·005) kg per capita under age 5 per annum for baby food. No significant change is estimated for minimally processed foods. In statistical models, large unexplained variations in country-specific trends suggest additional unmeasured country-level factors also impact sales trends following entry into US FTAs.
These findings strongly support the conclusion that joining US FTAs can contribute to detrimental changes in national dietary consumption that increase population risk of non-communicable diseases.
Excess meat consumption, particularly of red and processed meats, is associated with nutritional and environmental health harms. While only a small portion of the population is vegetarian, surveys suggest many Americans may be reducing their meat consumption. To inform education campaigns, more information is needed about attitudes, perceptions, behaviours and foods eaten in meatless meals.
A web-based survey administered in April 2015 assessed meat reduction behaviours, attitudes, what respondents ate in meatless meals and sociodemographic characteristics.
Nationally representative, web-based survey in the USA.
US adults (n 1112) selected from GfK Knowledgeworks’ 50 000-member online panel. Survey weights were used to assure representativeness.
Two-thirds reported reducing meat consumption in at least one category over three years, with reductions of red and processed meat most frequent. The most common reasons for reduction were cost and health; environment and animal welfare lagged. Non-meat reducers commonly agreed with statements suggesting that meat was healthy and ‘belonged’ in the diet. Vegetables were most often consumed ‘always’ in meatless meals, but cheese/dairy was also common. Reported meat reduction was most common among those aged 45–59 years and among those with lower incomes.
The public and environmental health benefits of reducing meat consumption create a need for campaigns to raise awareness and contribute to motivation for change. These findings provide rich information to guide intervention development, both for the USA and other high-income countries that consume meat in high quantities.
Food insecurity is associated with toxic stress and adverse long-term physical and mental health outcomes. It can be experienced chronically and also triggered or exacerbated by natural and human-made hazards that destabilize the food system. The Baltimore Food System Resilience Advisory Report was created to strengthen the resilience of the city’s food system and improve short- and long-term food security. Recognizing food insecurity as a form of trauma, the report was developed using the principles of trauma-informed social policy. In the present paper, we examine how the report applied trauma-informed principles to policy development, discuss the challenges and benefits of using a trauma-informed approach, and provide recommendations for others seeking to create trauma-informed food policy.
Report recommendations were developed based on: semi-structured interviews with food system stakeholders; input from community members at outreach events; a literature review; Geographic Information System mapping; and other analyses. The present paper explores findings from the stakeholder interviews.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Baltimore food system stakeholders stratified by two informant categories: organizations focused on promoting food access (n 13) and community leaders (n 12).
Stakeholder interviews informed the recommendations included in the report and supported the idea that chronic and acute food insecurity are experienced as trauma in the Baltimore community.
Applying a trauma-informed approach to the development of the Baltimore Food System Resilience Advisory Report contributed to policy recommendations that were community-informed and designed to lessen the traumatic impact of food insecurity.
There is strong evidence that what we eat and how it is produced affects climate change.
The present paper examines coverage of food system contributions to climate change in top US newspapers.
Using a sample of sixteen leading US newspapers from September 2005 to January 2008, two coders identified ‘food and climate change’ and ‘climate change’ articles based on specified criteria. Analyses examined variation across time and newspaper, the level of content relevant to food systems’ contributions to climate change, and how such content was framed.
There were 4582 ‘climate change’ articles in these newspapers during this period. Of these, 2·4 % mentioned food or agriculture contributions, with 0·4 % coded as substantially focused on the issue and 0·5 % mentioning food animal contributions. The level of content on food contributions to climate change increased across time. Articles initially addressed the issue primarily in individual terms, expanding to address business and government responsibility more in later articles.
US newspaper coverage of food systems’ effects on climate change during the study period increased, but still did not reflect the increasingly solid evidence of the importance of these effects. Increased coverage may lead to responses by individuals, industry and government. Based on co-benefits with nutritional public health messages and climate change’s food security threats, the public health nutrition community has an important role to play in elaborating and disseminating information about food and climate change for the US media.
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