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The Rising Double Burden of Malnutrition in Bolivia: Determining the Role of Food Environments and Other Factors in Urban, Peri-Urban and Rural Areas

Throughout the globe, changing food systems are contributing to an increasing nutritional double burden characterized by persistent undernutrition alongside an unprecedented increase in the prevalence of obesity and associated chronic disease. Particularly in peri-urban regions of cities in the Global South, the rapid pace of urbanization, decline in subsistence food production, and shifts toward non-farm livelihoods have transformed food systems and food environments. Despite their importance for public health and environmental sustainability, we know very little about the nature of food systems in these transitioning regions of growing cities, their impact on sustainable livelihoods, or how they relate to nutrition outcomes. Focused on two metropolitan regions in Bolivia - a country undergoing rapid urbanization and changes in food systems that exemplify similar changes throughout much of the Global South - our team of researchers includes three of University of Michigan’s food systems cluster hires (Hoey, Jones and Blesh) and several Bolivian partners. Using extensive household surveys of food access and production, anthropometry, dietary assessment, food environment windshield scans and surveys, remotely sensed data, and semi-structured interviews with key informants, we expect findings from this longitudinal study to inform policy interventions that can promote alternative food systems that are productive and profitable, yet sustainable, equitable and health promoting. This project is made possible with major funding from the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation as well as Taubman College Seed Funding and UMOR Faculty Grant funding. See our first publication from this project.

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