Food consumption impacts of adherence to dietary norms in the United States: a quantitative assessment
Srinivasan, C. S. (2007) Food consumption impacts of adherence to dietary norms in the United States: a quantitative assessment. Agricultural Economics, 37 (2-3). pp. 249-256. ISSN 0169-5150
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-0862.2007.00271.x
Promotion of adherence to healthy-eating norms has become an important element of nutrition policy in the United States and other developed countries. We assess the potential consumption impacts of adherence to a set of recommended dietary norms in the United States using a mathematical programming approach. We find that adherence to recommended dietary norms would involve significant changes in diets, with large reductions in the consumption of fats and oils along with large increases in the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Compliance with norms recommended by the World Health Organization for energy derived from sugar would involve sharp reductions in sugar intakes. We also analyze how dietary adjustments required vary across demographic groups. Most socio-demographic characteristics appear to have relatively little influence on the pattern of adjustment required to comply with norms, Income levels have little effect on required dietary adjustments. Education is the only characteristic to have a significant influence on the magnitude of adjustments required. The least educated rather than the poorest have to bear the highest burden of adjustment. Out- analysis suggests that fiscal measures like nutrient-based taxes may not be as regressive as commonly believed. Dissemination of healthy-eating norms to the less educated will be a key challenge for nutrition policy.