The Influence of Income and Prices on Global Dietary Patterns by Country, Age, and Gender

Worldwide changes in eating habits are contributing to a rise in obesity and chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and heart disease, across all countries, including middle- and low-income countries. Now that many countries share common challenges related to food choice and public health, international organizations such as the World Health Organization have recommended global campaigns to address the rise of NCDs by implementing policies to improve diets. Although these organizations have proposed pricing and income policies, the effectiveness of such policies—based on income level and regional preferences, as well as on age and gender—could differ across countries. To address this issue, this study investigates how income and prices influence dietary habits globally. No prior studies have globally evaluated the influence of price and income on major dietary risk factors for NCDs by age or gender. In this report, nationally representative dietary intake data for 164 countries were used to derive income and own-price elasticities of food consumption across the spectrum of rich and poor countries. Our results show considerable differences among individuals across food groups, regions/countries, and age and gender subgroups. Similar to past studies of cross-country food demand, results also show that low-income countries are more affected by changes in income and food prices than are higher income countries.

Issue Date:
Mar 02 2017
Publication Type:
Total Pages:
Series Statement:
Economic Research Report 225

 Record created 2017-05-04, last modified 2017-12-30

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