Monitoring the impacts of trade agreements on food environments

Authors

  • S. Friel,

    Corresponding author
    • National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • L. Hattersley,

    1. National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • W. Snowdon,

    1. Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (C-POND), Suva, Fiji
    2. WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • A.-M. Thow,

    1. Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • T. Lobstein,

    1. International Association for the Study of Obesity, London, UK
    2. Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • D. Sanders,

    1. School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • S. Barquera,

    1. National Institute of Public Health, Mexico City, Mexico
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • S. Mohan,

    1. Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, India
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • C. Hawkes,

    1. World Cancer Research Fund, London, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • B. Kelly,

    1. School of Health and Society, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript, listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • S. Kumanyika,

    1. Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. L'Abbe,

    1. Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • A. Lee,

    1. School of Public Health and Social Work and School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. Ma,

    1. Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), Beijing, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. Macmullan,

    1. Consumers International, London, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • C. Monteiro,

    1. School of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Search for more papers by this author
  • B. Neal,

    1. The George Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. Rayner,

    1. British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • G. Sacks,

    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • B. Swinburn,

    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    2. School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
    Search for more papers by this author
  • S. Vandevijvere,

    1. School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
    Search for more papers by this author
  • C. Walker,

    1. Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Geneva, Switzerland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • INFORMAS

    Search for more papers by this author
    • INFORMAS is the International Network for Food and Obesity/non-communicable diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support. All authors who are not members of the writing group are listed in alphabetical order, and contributed to the development of the key concepts and principles discussed in this manuscript as part of the first formal meeting of INFORMAS from 19 to 23 November 2012 at Bellagio, Italy.

Address for correspondence: S Friel, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Mills Road, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

E-mail: sharon.friel@anu.edu.au

Summary

The liberalization of international trade and foreign direct investment through multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements has had profound implications for the structure and nature of food systems, and therefore, for the availability, nutritional quality, accessibility, price and promotion of foods in different locations. Public health attention has only relatively recently turned to the links between trade and investment agreements, diets and health, and there is currently no systematic monitoring of this area. This paper reviews the available evidence on the links between trade agreements, food environments and diets from an obesity and non-communicable disease (NCD) perspective. Based on the key issues identified through the review, the paper outlines an approach for monitoring the potential impact of trade agreements on food environments and obesity/NCD risks. The proposed monitoring approach encompasses a set of guiding principles, recommended procedures for data collection and analysis, and quantifiable ‘minimal’, ‘expanded’ and ‘optimal’ measurement indicators to be tailored to national priorities, capacity and resources. Formal risk assessment processes of existing and evolving trade and investment agreements, which focus on their impacts on food environments will help inform the development of healthy trade policy, strengthen domestic nutrition and health policy space and ultimately protect population nutrition.

Ancillary