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Political economy challenges in nutrition | Globalization and Health | Full Text

Political economy challenges in nutrition | Globalization and Health | Full Text

Biomed Central

Globalization and Health

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Political economy challenges in nutrition

Globalization and Health201612:70
DOI: 10.1186/s12992-016-0204-6
Received: 26 September 2015
Accepted: 1 October 2016
Published: 5 November 2016



Historically, implementing nutrition policy has confronted persistent obstacles, with many of these obstacles arising from political economy sources. While there has been increased global policy attention to improving nutrition in recent years, the difficulty of translating this policy momentum into results remains.


We present key political economy themes emanating from the political economy of nutrition literature. Together, these interrelated themes create a complex web of obstacles to moving nutrition policy forward. From these themes, we frame six political economy challenges facing the implementation of nutrition policy today. Building awareness of the broader political and economic issues that shape nutrition actions and adopting a more systematic approach to political economy analysis may help to mitigate these challenges.


Improving nutrition will require managing the political economy challenges that persist in the nutrition field at global, national and subnational levels. We argue that a “mindshift” is required to build greater awareness of the broader political economy factors shaping the global nutrition landscape; and to embed systematic political economy analysis into the work of stakeholders navigating this field. This mindshift may help to improve the political feasibility of efforts to reform nutrition policy and implementation—and ensure that historical legacies do not continue to shape the future.


Nutrition Policy reform Political economy Governance

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