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Table 1 Review articles: characteristics and key conclusions

From: Analyzing the impacts of global trade and investment on non-communicable diseases and risk factors: a critical review of methodological approaches used in quantitative analyses

Author (Year) Scope/inclusion criteria (search date range) Number of studies identified* Relevant conclusions regarding existing literature
Breman & Shelton (2007) [17] Structural adjustment programs (SAPs) and health outcomes; emphasis on empirical analyses (dates not specified) 76 - Three main policies of SAPs have been the focus of this literature: reduced government expenditures, liberalized markets, and exchange rate devaluation
- “Overwhelming majority” of studies portray the impacts of SAPs on health as negative, but among strictly empirical studies, approximately even split between findings of positive, negative, and neutral impacts
Young, et al. (2009) [66] Globalization and co-morbidity between infectious and chronic disease (1950 – end date not specified) Not specified - This review technically met our inclusion criteria but the globalization aspect was very minor in the results/discussion
Loewenson, et al. (2010) [19] Globalization and nutritional outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa (1990–2009) 199 - Limited empirical work in Africa
- Need for more research on gender dimensions of globalization and health
Friel, et al. (2013) [18] Studies that developed approaches, methods, or indicators to monitor impacts of trade agreements on food environments from an obesity/NCD perspective; examined impacts of trade agreements on food chains and the food environment; or conceptualized links between trade liberalization and food environments (1990 – January 2013) 9 - “No studies were identified which used methods or indicators to systematically monitor trade agreements through an obesity/NCD lens”
- Proposes potential indicators and food categories for monitoring the impacts of trade agreements on national food systems and food environments
Baker, et al. (2014) [67] Trade liberalization, non-communicable diseases, and risk factors in Asia (dates not specified) Not specified - Understanding of the mechanisms linking transnational corporations and increased consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy foods and beverages “appear to be theoretically and empirically underdeveloped in the public health literature”
Burns, et al. (2016) [13] Quantitative studies investigating the relationship between international trade or foreign direct investment, and non-nutritional population health outcomes (until end of 2014) 16 - Current evidence on FDI as determinant and consequence of health is unclear; more research needed
- Sample stratification may critically affect the estimated relationship between trade and health in international panel studies (e.g., nature of goods imported/exported, industry of international investments, position in global supply chain)
- Important to consider mutual association when analyzing trade or FDI and health; adjustments for reverse causality were “typically crude” or absent
- Surprisingly limited use of individual-level data
Barlow, et al. (2017) [22] Quantitative studies of the health impacts of trade and investment agreements or policy. (1960 – January 2016) 17 - “Trade and investment measures varied in specificity”
- Studies with stronger methodological designs most often used trade indicators with weak specificity
- Mechanisms mediating links were seldom explored
- Strong reliance on country-level data precludes exploration of social groups where effects are concentrated
McNamara (2017) [16] Studies explicating a clear analytical framework for conceptualizing pathways between trade liberalization and health (until end of 2015) 43 - “Many authors include financial flows and foreign investment within conceptualizations of trade liberalization”
- “Trade liberalization itself is seldom explicitly defined in frameworks”
  1. *Number of studies specified by the authors as meeting the inclusion criteria of the review, not the number of references