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How to reduce food waste and promote healthy eating

Food waste and obesity are major problems in developed countries. They are both caused by an overabundance of food, but strategies to reduce one can inadvertently increase the other. A broader perspective can help identify ways to limit food waste while also promoting healthy nutrition, two University of Illinois researchers suggest.

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“You can reduce food waste by obtaining less or eating more. Our concern was that if people are reducing waste by eating more, what does that mean for nutrition? And how do we think about these tradeoffs in a way that promotes both good nutrition outcomes and good food waste outcomes? Public policies have generally focused on either obesity or food waste, but rarely considered them together, says Brenna Ellison, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE) at U of I.

Ellison and Melissa Pflugh Prescott, assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at U of I, discuss a systems approach to addressing food waste and nutrition in a new paper, published in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

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