Strength of EU-level food environment policies and priority recommendations to create healthy food environments

Sanne K. Djojosoeparto*, Carlijn B.M. Kamphuis, Stefanie Vandevijvere, Celine Murrin, Isobel Stanley, Piotr Romaniuk, Janas M. Harrington, Maartje P. Poelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Food environments impact on diets, obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Government policies are essential to create healthy food environments. This study aimed to assess the strength of European Union (EU)-level policies, and identify and prioritize actions for the EU to create healthy food environments.
Methods The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) was applied. The Food-EPI included 26 policy and 24 infrastructure support indicators. Independent experts (n = 31) rated the strength of EU-level policies and infrastructure support for each of these indicators (on a 5-point scale, from very weak to very strong) and identified and prioritized actions to improve food environments.
Results For 65% of the 26 policy indicators, EU-level policies were rated as weak and for 23% as very weak. For 63% of the 24 infrastructure support indicators, EU-level policies were rated as moderate and for 33% as weak. The experts recommended 18 policy and 19 infrastructure support actions to the EU. The Top 5 prioritized policy actions included three actions in the food composition domain (e.g. setting mandatory food composition targets), one action in the food prices domain and one action in the food promotion domain. The Top 5 prioritized infrastructure support actions included three actions in the leadership domain (e.g. developing a high-level NCDs Prevention Strategy) and two actions in the monitoring domain.
Conclusions There is large potential for the EU to strengthen its policies and infrastructure support in order to improve food environments. This study specifies priority actions for the EU to create healthy food environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-511
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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