Jan 23, 2024
                       

Promoting Sustainable and Equitable Dietary Patterns: A Multidisciplinary Approach

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The Research Problem

This study addresses the promotion of sustainable and equitable dietary patterns in the face of global challenges such as climate change, cultural understanding, and public health. While plant-based diets are widely advocated as a response to climate change, the feasibility and applicability of replicating this model globally requires critical examination. Factors such as varying economic development and geographical resource endowments among countries lead to different costs associated with accessing animal-based and plant-based protein sources. To avoid exacerbating nutritional inequalities, the realities and contextual factors of each country must be considered. Additionally, different countries face diverse environmental and population pressures, which influence residents’ perceptions, awareness, and consumption habits. Understanding these factors is crucial for formulating and promoting sustainable and equitable dietary patterns. 

Research Design

The research design involves a multidisciplinary approach that integrates various methods to achieve the objectives. The study utilizes survey instruments developed for Canada and China to assess behavioural change and preferences for plant-based alternatives to animal-based protein and dairy products. To expand the scope and generalise the findings, the research aims to include at least three more countries in the study. The research team comprises members from The University of Alberta, University of Ghana, and Renmin University of China, ensuring a diverse representation of perspectives and expertise. The research team’s collaboration will enable data collection, analysis, and interpretation to provide a comprehensive understanding of the research problem.

Project Objectives

  1. Investigate willingness to substitute plant-based meat and dairy products: The study explores individual preferences and attitudes regarding plant-based alternatives. By examining factors like culture, values, and price that influence behavioural change, patterns and variations across countries are identified.
  2. Identify factors influencing behavioural change: The project aims to determine the factors facilitating or hindering adoption of plant-based diets. Cultural, social, economic, and nutritional factors will be considered to inform interventions and policies promoting sustainable and equitable dietary patterns.
  3. Contribute evidence-based strategies and policies: By integrating findings from multiple countries, evidence-based recommendations will be generated for policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers. This research will inform strategies and policies promoting globally sustainable, equitable, and health-promoting dietary patterns, encompassing social justice, environmental sustainability, and public health.

Overall, this research aims to provide a nuanced understanding of individuals’ willingness to adopt plant-based alternatives, informing the development and dissemination of sustainable and equitable dietary patterns worldwide.

This project aligns with WUN’s focus on addressing global challenges, including responding to climate change, understanding cultures, and promoting public health. The multidisciplinary approach employed in this study, along with the collaboration between international universities, exemplifies WUN’s commitment to fostering research excellence and tackling complex global issues. WUN (Worldwide Universities Network) supports this research by facilitating collaboration among partner universities and providing a platform for knowledge exchange and research partnerships.

Who's involved

Professor Ellen Goddard, Professor Brent Swallow, The University of Alberta

Associate Professor Akwasi Mensah-Bonsu, University of Ghana

Dr Yiyuan Miao, Renmin Univeristy of China