New Paper Explores Using Biodiversity Indicators to Shape Food System Recommendations

Bird's-eye view of market. Photo: K.Ghosh/Bioversity International

A new paper by Carl Lachat of Gent University, Jessica Raneri of Bioversity International, and others examines how using Dietary Species Richness, a new food biodiversity indicator, can help policymakers and stakeholders better understand the relationship between food biodiversity and diet quality and, in turn, identify where food systems can be improved.

The paper, based on research funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, detailed findings from a study which focused particularly on women and young children in rural areas. These groups are often particularly vulnerable to poor diet quality and low diversity among foods consumed, two factors that increase risk of ill health and malnutrition.

With this new tool to examine how diet quality is impacted by connections between food biodiversity, nutrient intake adequacy, and diet diversity, researchers hope to be able to highlight where food systems might be positively shaped in order to ensure more diverse diets even among the most vulnerable groups, with an eye towards improving human as well as environmental health.

The full paper, titled “Dietary Species Richness as a Measure of Food Biodiversity and Nutritional Quality of Diets,” can be found here.