Child-centered food systems: Reorienting food systems towards healthy diets for children

Elsevier, Global Food Security, Volume 27, December 2020
Hawkes C., Fox E., Downs S.M., Fanzo J., Neve K.
Current food systems are failing to guide children towards healthy diets. This paper presents a tool to identify the actions needed to reorient food systems to become more child-centred from a nutrition perspective. To connect the dots between children's lives, their food environments and food supply systems, the tool takes a child-centred, food systems approach. Comprising six methodological steps, the tool starts by measuring and understanding children's realities and then working back up into the system to identify how food environments and supply systems could make relevant foods more or less available, affordable, appealing and aspirational in the contexts of children's lives. The paper spells out the mix of methods needed to make this assessment, gives examples of the data and studies already available and type of insights they provide, and discusses the methodological challenges and gaps. It presents a worked example that shows how following these steps in sequence enables the identification of a package of actions that can act coherently to reorient food systems in the way most likely to have impact on child malnutrition.