Health, nutrition, and public policy

J. Frenk, J. le Coutre, P.J. van Bladeren, S. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The relationship between health and the economy is complex and hardly a matter of unidirectional cause and consequence. With health increasingly being understood as a stimulus for the economy, nutrition directly assumes the status of an economic identifier. This paper discusses the growing complexity of the global health field and tries to develop a new way of understanding the role of health and nutrition in the broader global agenda. The objective is to develop sensitive policies that can generate progress around the world. Such policies must be based on scientifically derived evidence. Initially, and with a nutritional perspective, the economic effects resulting from a healthy population are assessed. Next, the relationship between healthcare systems and economic performance is analyzed. We then describe the health transition in low- and middle-income countries. Finally, we discuss two national social policies (Oportunidades and Seguro Popular) developed in Mexico to confront its health and nutritional challenges as the keystone for economic development. The main conclusion of this paper is that globalization can turn policy knowledge into international public goods that can be used to address local problems. Such application, in turn, feeds back into the global pool of experience, thus generating a process of shared learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-529
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • mexico

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Health, nutrition, and public policy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this