Public Health Project

Public Health Project

Stay tuned to Brighter Green’s Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on this project and the upcoming discussion paper.

In 2013, Brighter Green Research Intern Judy Bankman wrote a blog series on the public health impacts of the globalization of the Western diet in the global South. These blogs are a part of the Brighter Green Public Health Project, a project that aims to investigate how the adoption of the Western diet (diets higher in animal fats, sugar, salt, and processed foods) in the global South (developing regions) is contributing to an increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

KFC fast food marketing in China
KFC marketing in China has targeted the rising middle class and capitalized on their aspirations.
Photo courtesy of Jun Li/Flickr.

During the last several decades, many countries throughout the world have seen a spike in obesity rates and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. While various factors contribute to this trend, the largest factor is the influence of the standard American diet: high in animal fat, sugar, and salt, with steadily increasing portion sizes and ready-made, processed meals. The standard American diet is making Americans sick, and its exportation to the global South is fueling an increase in diet-related non-communicable disease. These chronic diseases disproportionately affect low and middle-income countries as many are currently witnessing a quick rise in incomes and an equally quick transition from traditional plant-based diets to the standard “Western” fare.

The blogs below, originally appearing on the Civil Eats website as well as the Food Tank website, provide country-specific examinations of the nutrition transition as well as the influence of junk food marketing in developing countries.

Junk Food Marketing Makes Big Moves in Developing Countries

India and the Hidden Consequences of the Nutrition Transition

The Little Emperor’s Burger

Mexico: Public Health, Rising Obesity and the NAFTA Effect

Where Food Injustice Wanders Next: South Africa