We are proud to be sharing this new publication from our project director, Prof. Melissa Fuster, as part of a Frontiers in Public Health Special Collection, Experts’ opinions in public health and nutrition: emerging issues in the field.
This opinion piece presents ongoing culinary innovations, particularly within Latin American restaurants which signifies that community restaurants are key changemakers in improving the local food environment. Fuster argues that public health efforts regarding dietary interventions have focused on positively influencing home consumption or improving food choices at chain restaurants. However, emerging research has highlighted that small non-chain restaurants have the potential to increase healthy food consumption. This, of course, does not come without its own challenges.
Fuster further states that innovative culinary creations of chefs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean have the potential to promote healthy eating and improve health outcomes, but it has yet to fully trickle down into grassroots restaurants. For this shift to happen, public health researchers are encouraged to go beyond traditional research methods and adopt active, engaging approaches to facilitate collaboration between the local food community and the research team.
These sentiments were also echoed by another contributor to the special collection, Fabio Parasecoli. Parasecoli is an author and professor of Food Studies in the Nutrition and Food Studies Department at New York University. His scholarly work explores food, popular culture, and politics, particularly in food design. His opinion piece reaffirms that the use of food design strategies and the involvement of all stakeholders can result in the transformation at any level of a food system. You can read more of Parasecoli’s essay here
Research approaches that are centered on collaboration among all stakeholders allow everyone to have a voice at the table, all working together to improve the health of the communities they serve. We encourage you to read Dr. Fuster’s article here and follow this blog for further updates on how we go about fostering these collaborations.
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