The Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS), led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, forms part of the Wellcome Trust's Our Planet, Our Health programme. The overarching objective of SHEFS is to provide policy makers with novel, interdisciplinary evidence to define future food systems policies that deliver nutritious and healthy foods in an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable manner. The RVC is partnered with eight other research institutions and will focus on the animal source foods in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
South Africa bears a double burden of malnutrition, with persistent levels of stunting and rising obesity. Animal source foods (ASF) provide energy dense and micronutrient rich food, important for pregnant and breast-feeding women and children’s cognitive development. However, ASF may also present health risks through overconsumption, food borne diseases and chemical hazards and have a greater environmental impact than plant-based diets. South Africa has a transitioning, complex and dualistic ASF system with both a sophisticated and regulated commercial system, and an informal system. The RVC aims to use a system dynamics model to investigate the health, nutritional and environmental impacts of ASF value chains. Simulated scenarios will be performed to evaluate potential interventions and their intended and unintended consequences, and to assist development of policies aimed at delivering accessible, sustainable and nutritious ASF to improve health of consumers.
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