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Linking Health and Environmental Outcomes to Dietary Behaviors in the United States


Project Objectives & Activities:  
This project seeks to understand how individual dietary choices contribute to health and environmental outcomes, and how such choices can be modified by policy.  This will be done through developing a new approach that uses data from a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States.

There are five main aims for this pilot project, which build on each other sequentially:

1. To develop a methodology that links diet, health, and environmental data at the level of the individual;

2. To describe how greenhouse gas emissions of diets are related to socio-economic characteristics and behavioral patterns of U.S. individuals;

3. To test the hypothesis that healthful diets, as selected, produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions;

4. To simulate the effects of a policy change, such as new dietary guidance, on dietary behaviors, health and environmental outcomes; and

5. To foster subsequent research on diet, health, and the environment through dissemination of our work.

dataFIELD (database of Food Impacts on the Environment for Linking to Diets) aggregates data on the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) and cumulative energy demand (CED) associated with production of specific foods to facilitate linages with self-selected individual diets in the US National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES). This data represents generic “average” impact factors for the production of food commodities which, while not specific to the US, we feel is an appropriate representation of the production of food consumed in the US.

dataFIELD version 1.0 is now available for public use:

Tulane University
Wellcome Trust
Research Areas
Food Systems and Consumer Products