Targeting Environmental Determinants of Healthy Eating through Healthy Public Policy
Tackling the burden of diet-related chronic diseases requires targeting determinants of healthy eating through policy that addresses food environments. An ecological framework broadly classifies food environments as physical (availability), economic (affordability), sociocultural (norms and values), and communication (information and messaging), all of which are influenced by policy. Research has demonstrated associations between food environments and diet-related health outcomes (e.g., lack of access and obesity). While enhancing knowledge, attitudes, and skills can help navigate food environments, simple interventions are insufficient to solve complex problems. Addressing the burden of diet-related chronic diseases requires targeting determinants of healthy eating through policy that addresses the physical, economic, sociocultural, and communication food environments.
This policy position paper was written by Dr. Kim D. Raine, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is part of the ISGP conference Equitable, Sustainable and Healthy Food Environments, convened in partnership with Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in May 2016.