Exploring the link between international trade and the global obesity epidemic


The project aims to investigate the link between global trade patterns in food commodities and the global obesity epidemic.


Professor Manfred Lenzen

Research Location

Charles Perkins Centre – the Judith and David Coffey Life Lab

Program Type



We will use input output analysis to map and quantify the extent of trade in food commodities implicated in the global obesity epidemic, e.g. sugar. Analysis of the underlying patterns will be used to develop advice for policy relating to the use of market mechanisms to regulate the trade of goods that have a negative effect on health. These discussions are already underway in the context of a global carbon market but have not been explored in the context of preventative health. The project will also consider the implications of market mechanisms for local economies and how impacts may be ameliorated

Additional Information

The Life Lab creates a new kind of graduate and postgraduate training environment at the interface between life, social, economic and physical sciences. Its focus is to address the significant challenges we face from an unsustainable food system that degrades the environmental services it depends on, and creates significant societal health problems. A better understanding of the complexity of the environment-food-health nexus is critical. It is fundamental to building a sustainable society, and one that is more robust to future uncertainties. Our unique approach will be a world-first in shifting research on these growing challenges from treating symptoms to prevention.Life Lab will challenge existing paradigms and university models to create a research training environment in which traditional disciplinary boundaries do not apply. Our ambitious vision is to create an ‘innovation hub' where researchers from disciplines spanning physical, life and social and economic sciences will interface with business, government and agency leaders. It will develop integrated approaches to the challenges that threaten societal wellbeing, and train the next generation of experts with the skills required to find solutions.

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Input output analysis, global trade, public health, Obesity, preventative health, economics

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1701

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