Title

The Role of Globalization in Changing Nutrition and Health Patterns in Central America and Mexico

Presenter Information

Sarah Havens

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

Around the globe, the health status of populations is strongly influenced by nutrition status and diet, which in turn are influenced by a wide variety of factors including economics, politics, and culture. This study addresses the impact of globalization on nutrition transitions, or major changes in dietary patterns. I assess the argument that free trade and neoliberal policies that change agricultural priorities from local subsistence to participation in a global market will benefit the health status of local communities. Case study data from Central America and Mexico are analyzed, since these are areas of the world that have recently seen significant changes as a result of expanding connections to international commercial markets. The rate and nature of nutritional changes, and how such changes have affected the health status of the study populations under these conditions of globalization will be documented. Initial findings indicate that specific variables such as unequal access to land, conversion from local plant species to bio-engineered strains, and increased intake of a typically Western diet may be linked to a decline in nutritional status, an increase in dietary vulnerability, and poorer health outcomes for some populations. This analysis reveals the challenges to human health encountered during globalization processes designed to improve the socioeconomic status and well-being of communities.

Poster Number

11

Faculty Mentor(s)

Tracy Andrews

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology

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May 16th, 11:30 AM May 16th, 2:00 PM

The Role of Globalization in Changing Nutrition and Health Patterns in Central America and Mexico

SURC Ballroom C/D

Around the globe, the health status of populations is strongly influenced by nutrition status and diet, which in turn are influenced by a wide variety of factors including economics, politics, and culture. This study addresses the impact of globalization on nutrition transitions, or major changes in dietary patterns. I assess the argument that free trade and neoliberal policies that change agricultural priorities from local subsistence to participation in a global market will benefit the health status of local communities. Case study data from Central America and Mexico are analyzed, since these are areas of the world that have recently seen significant changes as a result of expanding connections to international commercial markets. The rate and nature of nutritional changes, and how such changes have affected the health status of the study populations under these conditions of globalization will be documented. Initial findings indicate that specific variables such as unequal access to land, conversion from local plant species to bio-engineered strains, and increased intake of a typically Western diet may be linked to a decline in nutritional status, an increase in dietary vulnerability, and poorer health outcomes for some populations. This analysis reveals the challenges to human health encountered during globalization processes designed to improve the socioeconomic status and well-being of communities.