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Factors to Consider when Creating Food Policies in Low and Middle Income Countries

A scholar from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy sought to determine the specific factors that should be considered when creating and fine-tuning food policies as they relate to children in disadvantaged areas. In a 2014 study published in The World Bank Research Observer, “Diet Quality, Child Health, and Food Policies in Developing Countries,” Professor Alok Bhargava investigates nutrient absorption and the environmental factors that affect children’s diets. Bhargava examined data and research collected from India, the Philippines, Kenya, Tanzania and Bangladesh to understand the role that such things as household income, dairy farming and sanitation play in improving children’s diets in both the short term and long term. 

Patterns of food consumption within different populations depend on cultural, socioeconomic and demographic factors. Animal products are sources of protein, calcium and iron, which are key to children’s physical development. There are differences, however, in the patterns of demand for such foods and also in the availability of fresh milk and meat in developing countries. Tackling problems related to poor diet quality and nutrition in developing countries requires consideration of these and other factors. The author notes that a specific focus on young children can prove to be beneficial to those children later in life. “If policy makers can improve child health in the early years, then these children may show greater resilience in the future,” the author states.