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Hoey Awarded $450,000 Grant For Accelerating Progress Toward Sustainable Diets in the Global South

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hoey Awarded $450,000 Grant For Accelerating Progress Toward Sustainable Diets in the Global South

A team of U-M researchers including assistant professor of urban and regional planning, Lesli Hoey, has been awarded $450,000 by The Graham Sustainability Institute for their work on accelerating progress toward sustainable diets in the Global South. Co-investigators on the research team are Andrew Jones of the U-M School of Public Health (project lead), Martin Heller of U-M's School of Natural Resources and Environment, and Colin Khoury of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Additional team members are Evan Girvetz and Stef de Haan of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. The project is titled "Leveraging existing data and insights into the policy process to accelerate progress toward achieving sustainable diets in the global south."

Researchers will analyze currently available data from Kenya and Vietnam on the links between diet, human health and environmental change. Poor-quality diets underlie the most prominent causes of disease worldwide, while agricultural production is among the largest sources of global greenhouse gas emissions, consumes massive amounts of water, and contributes to nutrient pollution and deforestation.

In both Kenya and Vietnam, nearly a quarter of preschool-age children are stunted. While obesity is on the rise in both countries, the trend is especially evident in Kenya.

The goal of this project is to provide clear policy guidance that helps improve the sustainability of human diets in the two case-study countries. The researchers define sustainable diets as diets that are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems; culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; and nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy.

"In places like Kenya and Vietnam, there is an urgent imperative to reshape human diets to safeguard human health, mitigate climate change, and sustainably use the planet's natural resources," Jones said. "The expected long-term impact of this project is accelerated progress toward achieving the goals of sustainable diets in both countries."

The core external partner for the project is the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, which has primary research hubs in Kenya and Vietnam that are supported through the Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Research Program.

The Graham Institute also awarded three eight-month Catalyst Grants of $10,000 to support collaborative activities such as conferences, project planning, white papers and workshops.

Click here for more about the study: Accelerating Progress Toward Sustainable Diets in the Global South

For more information about the grant: U-M Graham Institute research grants target sustainability challenges