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Low-income groups bear greater health burden in food systems: Study

Low-income groups bear greater health burden in food systems
Relationship between income and premature mortality rate. Credit: Nature Food (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s43016-024-00946-7

Across regions where food is produced, emissions from agriculture pose health risks to local populations. Among them, low-income groups are hit the hardest, a study published in Nature Food by researchers at Peking University (PKU) and collaborators finds.

The study underscores significant health risks and inequalities within global food systems, revealing that low-income populations are disproportionately affected. These findings are critical for addressing disparities targeted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Key findings:

  • China's food system resulted in approximately 260,000 premature deaths in 2017.
  • 74% of attributed to food production were linked to ammonia (NH3) from grain cultivation and livestock rearing. The remaining deaths were due to emissions from , packaging, transportation, and retailing.
  • Low-income groups bear 70% greater health burden from food production as compared to consumption, while higher-income groups experience a 29% lower risk.
  • Intervention strategies targeting both food production and consumption can effectively reduce health damage and mitigate inequalities, while singular-end interventions exhibit limited efficacy.

The study utilized high-resolution emission inventories of ammonia and other pollutants, provincial-scale input-output models, and CMAQ concomitant models (computer tools that are used for air quality management) to assess health risks.

Low-income groups bear greater health burden in food systems
Difference in mortality rate attributable to food production versus consumption, across income groups. Credit: Nature Food (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s43016-024-00946-7

This study highlights the need for integrated interventions that address both production and consumption processes to effectively reduce and inequalities. This research provides a crucial step forward in understanding and mitigating the health impacts of food systems on different income groups globally.

More information: Lianming Zheng et al, Health burden from food systems is highly unequal across income groups, Nature Food (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s43016-024-00946-7

Journal information: Nature Food

Provided by Peking University

Citation: Low-income groups bear greater health burden in food systems: Study (2024, May 20) retrieved 15 June 2024 from
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