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Principle Investigator: Barry Popkin


Nutrition Transition Program


Rapid socioeconomic, demographic, and technological changes, often linked with increasing globalization, are explained by a vast array of shifts in our way of living and doing commerce. These shifts have led to an ever-increasing rate of change of dietary, activity, and body composition patterns around the world. The pace of dietary and physical activity changes has accelerated to varying degrees in different regions of the world. Examining the patterns of change in dietary and physical activity patterns and nutritional status—and exploring their relationships with economic, social, demographic, and health factors—will improve our understanding of the causes of change and their consequences for health and economic well-being.

The Nutrition Transition Program of UNC-CH, housed at the Carolina Population Center, is developing a series of longitudinal surveys and studies coupled with ecological and other cross-sectional research. The goal is to further our understanding of the patterns, determinants, consequences, and program and policy options for dealing with the transition. Emphasis is placed on countries and large populations undergoing shifts in nutritional patterns and the associated health consequences that include increased nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NR-NCD). We use "nutrition" rather than diet, so the term NR-NCD incorporates the effects of physical activity and body composition rather than solely focusing on dietary patterns and their effects.