Monitoring the impacts of trade agreements on food environments

Sharon Friel, Libby Hattersley, Wendy Snowdon, Anne Marie Thow, Tim Lobstein, David Sanders, Simon Barquera, Sailesh Mohan, Corinna Hawkes, Bridget Kelly, Shiriki Kumanyika, Mary L'Abbe, Andy Lee, Jia Qi Ma, J MacMullan, Carlos Monteiro, Bruce Neal, Mike Rayner, Gary Sacks, Boyd SwinburnStefanie Vandevijvere, Celeste Walker

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    89 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)120-134
    Number of pages15
    JournalObesity Reviews
    Issue numbers1
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


    • Non-communicable diseases
    • Obesity
    • Trade agreements


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