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Too many calories, too few nutrients? : a systems approach to food and nutrition security in Guatemala

Bergstrøm, Elin LU (2016) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20161
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Obesity levels in developing countries are increasing at an alarming rate, while “old” problems
such as hunger and undernutrition still persist, creating a paradoxical situation of a double
burden of malnutrition. Intertwined with new sustainability challenges such as climate change
and land degradation, food, health and sustainability are interconnected in a complex web of
relationships, spanning multiple scales, levels and disciplines. It is argued that this complexity
should be included in conceptualizations and measurements of food and nutrition security; of
which a systems approach is one response to this challenge. Hammond & Dubé (2012) present
a systems framework for food and nutrition security, capturing linkages between... (More)
Obesity levels in developing countries are increasing at an alarming rate, while “old” problems
such as hunger and undernutrition still persist, creating a paradoxical situation of a double
burden of malnutrition. Intertwined with new sustainability challenges such as climate change
and land degradation, food, health and sustainability are interconnected in a complex web of
relationships, spanning multiple scales, levels and disciplines. It is argued that this complexity
should be included in conceptualizations and measurements of food and nutrition security; of
which a systems approach is one response to this challenge. Hammond & Dubé (2012) present
a systems framework for food and nutrition security, capturing linkages between three
different systems and the individual. Few studies have attempted to assess the applicability of
such new frameworks on a particular case, leading to a gap between conceptualization and
practical use. This thesis aims to fill this gap. Using the framework from Hammond & Dubé
(2012) as a mental model and an analytical framework, this thesis investigates the multiple
determinants of food and nutrition security in Guatemala. Further, it examines how a systems
approach can contribute to the understanding of food and nutrition security. Guatemala was
chosen as a case due to severe and complex health challenges, having one of the highest rate
of stunting among children under five, while almost half of all adult women are overweight.
The 10 linkages between the systems and the individual, presented by Hammond & Dubé
(2012), were operationalized, and indicators selected based on existing frameworks for food
and nutrition security and external literature. Using different databases, statistics were
collected for the years 1995 and 2014 to examine change over time. While recognizing that
the framework only represents a “selective abstraction of reality”, this study shows that there
are multiple determinants of food and nutrition security in the Guatemalan case. The results
highlight the importance of climate vulnerability and the intergenerational component of
health. Coupled with processes of poverty, inequality and economic liberalization, and
context-specific factors such as land-right disputes and a high percentage of indigenous
people, these factors show that food and nutrition security requires a systems approach. The
study also indicates that this particular framework leaves out important socio-political aspects
and the household level. In sum the framework does shed light on the complexity related to
food, health and sustainability, but needs to be further operationalized to have practical value
for policy makers and practitioners. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Bergstrøm, Elin LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Guatemala, a systems framework for food and nutrition security, food and nutrition security, systems thinking, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2016:024
language
English
id
8880415
date added to LUP
2016-06-16 10:42:57
date last changed
2016-06-16 10:42:57
@misc{8880415,
  abstract     = {Obesity levels in developing countries are increasing at an alarming rate, while “old” problems
such as hunger and undernutrition still persist, creating a paradoxical situation of a double
burden of malnutrition. Intertwined with new sustainability challenges such as climate change
and land degradation, food, health and sustainability are interconnected in a complex web of
relationships, spanning multiple scales, levels and disciplines. It is argued that this complexity
should be included in conceptualizations and measurements of food and nutrition security; of
which a systems approach is one response to this challenge. Hammond & Dubé (2012) present
a systems framework for food and nutrition security, capturing linkages between three
different systems and the individual. Few studies have attempted to assess the applicability of
such new frameworks on a particular case, leading to a gap between conceptualization and
practical use. This thesis aims to fill this gap. Using the framework from Hammond & Dubé
(2012) as a mental model and an analytical framework, this thesis investigates the multiple
determinants of food and nutrition security in Guatemala. Further, it examines how a systems
approach can contribute to the understanding of food and nutrition security. Guatemala was
chosen as a case due to severe and complex health challenges, having one of the highest rate
of stunting among children under five, while almost half of all adult women are overweight.
The 10 linkages between the systems and the individual, presented by Hammond & Dubé
(2012), were operationalized, and indicators selected based on existing frameworks for food
and nutrition security and external literature. Using different databases, statistics were
collected for the years 1995 and 2014 to examine change over time. While recognizing that
the framework only represents a “selective abstraction of reality”, this study shows that there
are multiple determinants of food and nutrition security in the Guatemalan case. The results
highlight the importance of climate vulnerability and the intergenerational component of
health. Coupled with processes of poverty, inequality and economic liberalization, and
context-specific factors such as land-right disputes and a high percentage of indigenous
people, these factors show that food and nutrition security requires a systems approach. The
study also indicates that this particular framework leaves out important socio-political aspects
and the household level. In sum the framework does shed light on the complexity related to
food, health and sustainability, but needs to be further operationalized to have practical value
for policy makers and practitioners.},
  author       = {Bergstrøm, Elin},
  keyword      = {Guatemala,a systems framework for food and nutrition security,food and nutrition security,systems thinking,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Too many calories, too few nutrients? : a systems approach to food and nutrition security in Guatemala},
  year         = {2016},
}