Makaiko G. Khonje, Olivier Ecker, Matin Qaim · 2020
Nutrients · Nutrients

Effects of Modern Food Retailers on Adult and Child Diets and Nutrition

In many developing countries, food environments are changing rapidly, with modern retailers—such as supermarkets—gaining in importance. Previous studies have suggested that the rise of modern retailers contributes to overweight and obesity. Effects of modern retailers on dietary quality have not been analyzed previously due to the unavailability of individual-level dietary data. Here, we address this research gap with data from randomly selected households in Lusaka, Zambia. Anthropometric and food-intake data from 930 adults and 499 children were analyzed to estimate effects of purchasing food in modern retailers on body weight, height, and dietary quality while controlling for income and other confounding factors. The food expenditure share spent in modern retailers was found to be positively associated with overweight in adults, but not in children. For children, a positive association between expenditures in modern retailers and height was identified. Modern retailers contribute to higher consumption of ultra-processed foods and calories. But they also increase protein and micronutrient intakes among adults and children, mainly through higher consumption of meat and dairy. The findings underline that modern retailers can influence diets and nutrition in positive and negative ways. Differentiated regulatory policies are needed to shape food environments for healthy food choices and nutrition.

Full publication is available on: DOI 10.3390/nu12061714

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Matin Qaim

Matin Qaim
Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn

Matin Qaim is a food systems economist and Director at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn. Before joining ZEF in 2021, he was Professor of International Food Economics and Rural Development at the University of Göttingen (2007-2021), Professor of International Agricultural Trade and Food Security at the University of Hohenheim (2004-2007), and postdoctoral scientist at the University of California at Berkeley (2001-2003). Qaim’s research focuses on sustainable food systems, agricultural development, and the reduction of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. He has over 250 academic publications and has been recognized as "Highly Cited Researcher" in 2021. Qaim is member of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), Fellow of the American Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), and President-Elect of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE). He has served on different high-level expert committees, including for the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, FAO, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the European Commission, The Royal Society, and the German Federal Government and Parliament.

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