Dr. Emiliano Lopez Barrera - Confronting the Double Burden of Malnutrition Generates Health and Environmental Benefits

Stephen K. Boss, professor of environmental dynamics and sustainability in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, launched the Coastlines & People (CoPe) Virtual Symposium Project on September 14, 2022. Boss presented “Far-Field Effects of Sea-Level Rise and Ocean-Climate Processes on the Heartland: An Overview.” This project was cosponsored by the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in Fulbright College.

The eleventh presentation entitled "Confronting the Double Burden of Malnutrition Generates Health and Environmental Benefits" was delivered on March 9, 2023, by Emiliano López Barrera, visiting assistant professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University.

There are few examples in the existing literature that address the quantitative linkages between food waste, food security, and environmental sustainability, at global scale. Here we develop a new panel database on household food waste at the national level based on the Energy Balance equation, including adjustments for changes in body weight over time. We use this to characterize the non-linear relationship between per capita income and the share of food availability wasted. By incorporating this relationship into a global partial equilibrium model of the agricultural sector (SIMPLE), we develop future trajectories of household food waste. We find that the emerging economies, particularly China and South Asia, are likely to play a key role in determining global food waste at mid-century. We also present several counterfactual scenarios that shed light on the implications for environmental and food security of limiting future growth in food waste. We find that the global impacts of these alternative pathways are greatly enhanced in the context of a more open international trade regime.

Barrera's work focuses on understanding how future patterns of global food consumption will affect human health, and how the agricultural changes needed to support the ongoing global nutrition transition will affect the environment. He combines econometric tools with economic and nutrition modeling to explore the trade-offs and linkages among diets, human health, and environmental sustainability.

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