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Sustainable and healthy school food environments in Brazil


Project description

Changing what Brazil eats has a large impact on the environment, population health, and on the economy. Brazil is the third-largest agricultural producer worldwide. Yet agriculture and land use account for about 55% of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions. Simultaneously, 16% of children aged 5-10 years are overweight and another 14% are obese, leading to obesity healthcare costs rising to $330 billion over the next 40 years.

The Brazilian National School Food Program (PNAE) is the oldest National Food Policy and benefits 40 million students; it was created in a time when hunger and undernutrition was the main problem. However, with the Nutritional Transition and the Global Syndemic of Undernutrition, Obesity and Climate Change, the role of the programme should be discussed to face these challenges.

We will run workshops for ERC from the UK and Brazil and enable pilot projects to improve food environments and behaviour at school, shaping the current dietary choices towards a sustainable healthy diet. Applicants and mentors will share initiatives where interdisciplinary approaches aid improving schools' meals, discussing challenges and impact.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Ximena Schmidt - Ximena joined Brunel University London as Global Challenges Research Fellow in 2019. She aims to streghten her research and teaching collaborations and professional networks in the field of sustainable energy and food systems across the Global South. Ximena is a life cycle sustainability expert and is currently improving her skills in system modelling. Her broader research interests relate to healthy, sustainable and afforadable diets, sustainable food supply chains and technologies, circular economy and waste valorization.  In addition to research, outreach is key in Ximena's activities. Behavioral change and awareness are critical for taking Ximena's research out of the academia and generate real impact. Hence, she has been involved in several research led - outreach activities and projects; currently, the main projects are TakeaBiteCC- Take a Bite out of Climate Chage and  GGDOT - Greenhouse Gas and Dietary choices Open Toolkit, transdisciplinary collaborations that aim to develop tools and engagement materials (e.g. games) to raise awareness about the relationship (impacts) between our food choices and climate change. TakeaBiteCC AT HOME, is the latest project, a response to COVID-19.