ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF CHANING DIETARY QUALITY
MetadataShow full item record
The food sector has been recognized as a significant contributor to multiple environmental issues including GHG emissions, water shortage and contamination, ecological disruption, etc., while the malnutrition issues has been increasingly affecting global public health over the years, especially in developing countries such as China where the diet patterns have been shifting considerably over the decades. To develop a sustainable diet that can minimize the environmental impact while meeting nutritional quality targets within economic affordability and cultural acceptability, knowledge is required on how these aspects are interconnected via dietary patterns not only for different countries but also across heterogeneous subnational socio-economic status. The overall aim of this research is to quantitatively evaluate the environmental impacts and nutritional quality of different dietary patterns characterized by socio-economic status. With this overarching question, this study explores three specific research questions that address the historical and assumed dietary patterns at different scales: 1) How have the environmental impact of the Chinese dietary patterns changed with the human nutritional quality for different socio-economic groups over the years? 2) How would an improvement in nutrition quality change the dietary environmental footprints in China? 3) How would the global adoption of healthy diets affect the environmental impacts in each country caused by agricultural production? This dissertation is a synthesized analysis combining the environmental impact accounting and dietary quality evaluation. It links individual food consumption records with environmental impact factors and dietary recommendations to quantitatively analyze the nutrition-environmental nexus for individuals from different income groups, living areas, and countries, and compare how such nexus differ by these socio-economic features. In this way, this dissertation identifies opportunities and challenges in achieving a “win-win” solution for protecting the natural environment and improving public health jointly for individuals from various socio-economic contexts. Its findings provide implications for goal setting and cost-benefit analysis of integrative policymaking concerning joint nutrition development and environmental management.