Can Healthier Food Demand be Linked to Farming Systems’ Sustainability? The Case of the Mediterranean Diet

Susana Campos, Lívia Madureira


Promoting healthier diets is strategic to solve the global societal challenge of excessive and unhealthy calorie intake that causes obesity and overweight and is responsible for chronic diseases that burden healthcare systems. The relationship between food and personal health is well established and in recent years it has originated a number of dietary recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) focused on encouraging healthier diets. The environmental impact of food intake and of particular diets is a growing research area. However, neither research
nor public policies, in particular, have been able so far to establish a link between promoting healthier diets and their impact on enhancing environmentally healthier farming systems and the sustainability of rural landscapes. This paper addresses this gap by presenting a multidisciplinary literature review which combines evidence from nutrition and health sciences with that from environmental, agrarian and sustainability studies on the impacts of foods and dietary patterns on the environment, ecosystems and rural landscape. This integrate d review,
complemented with data analysis, highlights the Mediterranean diet as a healthier dietary pattern whose promotion could be beneficial to recover or maintain the sustainability of Mediterranean rural landscape. Hence, the second part of the paper focus on discussing the role of public policies in enabling the link between enhancing healthier diets and healthier farming systems in order to sustain rural landscapes since these play a key role in the sustainability of Mediterranean rural areas.


Bioeconomy; Food demand; Food systems sustainability; Healthier diets; Mediterranean Diet; Sustainable rural landscapes

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ISSN 1869-6945


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