Urban Food Environments in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

In urban areas in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, rates of overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasing. At the same time, undernutrition persists, particularly among those on low incomes. Where people acquire their food and factors such as availability, affordability and convenience all influence what people eat in urban areas (i.e. urban food environments) and are essential to people’s diets, nutrition and health. At the same time, urbanisation and increasingly complex food systems pose unique challenges and opportunities to ensure that urban food environments provide people with nutritious and safe foods.

This factsheet defines and explains the concept of the food environment and its relevance in fighting malnutrition in urban areas in LMICs.