Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Trends in dietary patterns and compliance with World Health Organization recommendations: a cross-country analysis

  • Mario Mazzocchi (a1), Cristina Brasili (a1) and Elisa Sandri (a1)

Abstract

Objectives

To investigate time patterns of compliance with nutrient goals recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Design

A single aggregated indicator of distance from the key WHO recommendations for a healthy diet is built using FAOSTAT intake data, bounded between 0 (maximum possible distance from goals) and 1 (perfect adherence). Two hypotheses are tested for different country groupings: (1) whether adherence has improved over time; and (2) whether cross-country disparities in terms of diet healthiness have decreased.

Setting

One hundred and forty-nine countries, including 26 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and 115 developing countries (including 43 least developed countries), with yearly data over the period 1961–2002.

Results

The Recommendation Compliance Index (RCI) shows significant improvements in adherence to WHO goals for both developing and especially OECD countries. The latter group of countries show the highest levels of the RCI and the largest increase over time, especially between 1981 and 2002. No improvement is detected for least developed countries. A reduction in disparities (convergence of the RCI) is observed only within the OECD grouping.

Conclusions

Adherence to healthy eating guidelines depends on economic development. Diets are improving and converging in advanced economies, but developing and especially least developed countries are still far from meeting WHO nutrition goals. This confirms findings on the double burden of malnutrition and suggests that economic drivers are more relevant than socio-cultural factors in determining the healthiness of diets.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email m.mazzocchi@unibo.it

References

Hide All
1 Schmidhuber, J, Shetty, P. The nutrition transition to 2030. Why developing countries are likely to bear the major burden. Food Economics 2005; 2: 150166.
2 Schmidhuber, J, Traill, WB. The changing structure of diets in the EU-15 in relation to healthy eating guidelines. Public Health Nutrition 2006; 9: 584595.
3 Mazzocchi, M, Traill, WB. Nutrition, health and economic policies in Europe. Food Economics 2005; 2: 138149.
4World Health Organization (WHO). Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation. WHO Technical Report Series No. 916. Geneva: WHO, 2003.
5 Srinivasan, CS, Irz, XT, Shankar, B. An assessment of the potential consumption impacts of WHO dietary norms in OECD countries. Food Policy 2005; 31: 5377.
6 Baumol, W. Productivity growth, convergence and welfare: what the long run data show. American Economic Review 1986; 76: 10721085.
7 Barro, RJ, Sala-i-Martin, X. Convergence across states and regions. Brooking Papers on Economic Activity 1991; 1: 107158.
8 Barro, RJ, Sala-i-Martin, X. Convergence. Journal of Political Economy 1992; 100: 223251.
9 Lichtenberg, FR. Testing the convergence hypothesis. Review of Economics and Statistics 1994; 76: 576579.
10 Carree, M, Klomp, L. Testing the convergence hypothesis: a comment. Review of Economics and Statistics 1997; 79: 683686.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed