Objective: To systematically review the available evidence on whether
national or international agricultural policies that directly affect the
price of food influence the prevalence rates of undernutrition or
nutrition-related chronic disease in children and adults.
Design: Systematic review.
Search strategy: We systematically searched 5 databases for published
literature (MEDLINE, EconLit, Agricola, AgEcon Search, Scopus) and
systematically browsed other databases and relevant organisational
websites for unpublished literature. Reference lists of included
publications were hand-searched for additional relevant studies. We
included studies that evaluated or simulated the effects of national or
international food-price-related agricultural policies on nutrition
outcomes reporting data collected after 1990 and published in English.
Primary and secondary outcomes: Prevalence rates of undernutrition
(measured with anthropometry or clinical deficiencies) and overnutrition
(obesity and nutrition-related chronic diseases including cancer, heart
disease and diabetes).
Results: We identified a total of 4 relevant reports; 2 ex post
evaluations and 2 ex ante simulations. A study from India reported on
the undernutrition rates in children, and the other three studies from
Egypt, the Netherlands and the USA reported on the nutritionrelated
chronic disease outcomes in adults. Two of the studies assessed the
impact of policies that subsidised the price of agricultural outputs and
two focused on public food distribution policies. The limited evidence
base provided some support for the notion that agricultural policies
that change the prices of foods at a national level can have an effect
on population-level nutrition and health outcomes.
Conclusions: A systematic review of the available literature suggests
that there is a paucity of robust direct evidence on the impact of
agricultural price policies on nutrition and health.
Dangour, A.D.; Hawkesworth, S.; Shankar, B.; Watson, L.; Srinivasan, C.S.; Morgan, E.H.; Haddad, L.; Waage, J. Can nutrition be promoted through agriculture-led food price policies? A systematic review. BMJ Open (2013) 3 (6) e002937-e002937. [DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002937]