Agricultural Economics Department


First Advisor

Professor Azzeddine Azzam

Date of this Version

Summer 7-9-2018


Cholidah, Sri Noor. "Testing global dietary convergence." University of Nebraska - Lincoln, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2018.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Agricultural Economics, Under the Supervision of Professor Azzeddine Azzam. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2018

Copyright © 2018 Sri Noor Cholidah


Historical evidence shows that compared to Western countries, where the nutrition transition from a diet heavy in starchy staples to the modern Western diet took more than two centuries, the nutrition transition in developing countries towards Western-type diets has taken only a few decades, suggesting a trend towards global dietary convergence. This thesis explores the extent of such convergence by measuring βconvergence and σ-convergence of diets of 152 countries using FAO data on total calorie intake and calories by source from 1961-2009. Results for β-convergence show that a) countries who started in 1961 with lower calorie intake, in total or by source, are catching up to countries who started with higher calorie intake, and b) convergence speed is highest for total calories, followed by calories from oils, vegetables, cereals, sweeteners, roots, fruits, animals, and pulses. Results from σ-convergence show a narrowing of variation across countries in total calories and calorie proportions from the eight sources. Both sets of results confirm a trend towards global dietary convergence. Findings of convergence reveal that dietary structure across countries is becoming increasingly similar, although at differing speeds, and depending on a country’s latitude. Should this translate to continued transformation of developing countries’ food systems from traditional to Western-type patterns, one should expect further negative consequences for health and the environment.

Advisor: Azzeddine Azzam