A conceptual framework for understanding the impacts of agriculture and food system policies on nutrition and health
This paper was prepared in part as a contribution to the evidence building mandate of the Global Panel and originally appeared in Food Security. Written by Rebecca Kanter, Helen L. Walls, Mehroosh Tak, Francis Roberts and Jeff Waage.
Agriculture and food systems are important determinants of nutrition and consequent public health. However, an understanding of the links among agriculture, food systems, nutrition, public health and the associated policy levers, is relatively under-developed. A framework conceptualizing these key relationships, relevant to a range of country contexts, would help inform policymakers as to how agriculture and food policy could improve nutrition and public health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The objectives of this paper are: to present a conceptual framework, relevant to a range of country contexts and focused on the policymaker as the user, which depicts the key relationships among agriculture, the food system, nutrition and public health; and to describe how the framework can be used for understanding the impacts of agriculture and food system policies on nutrition outcomes. Existing conceptual frameworks, highlighting the relationships among agriculture, the food system, nutrition and public health were identified, reviewed and categorized, based on the key themes they address. Building on this analysis and synthesis a conceptual framework was developed that assists in identifying associated policy levers and their effects on elements of the framework. The end product is a conceptual framework that presents key domains linking agriculture and food systems to nutritional outcomes and public health. The framework is relevant to a range of contexts, for example low-, middle- and high-income settings; and to policymakers wishing to examine the potential direct and indirect impacts of agriculture and food system policies.