CNS 2018: Food environment policy in Canada and around the globe
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- Mary L'Abbé, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
- Gary Sacks, Deakin University
- Lana Vanderlee, University of Toronto
Food Environment Policy In Canada And Around The Globe
Policies that influence the food environment are critical in shaping healthy food behaviours at the population level. Recent years have seen a wave of progress in countries implementing targeted, cutting edge policies in an attempt to shift the food environment towards one that is health promoting, including sugary drink taxes, food labelling reform, advances in population-level dietary guidelines, prohibition of marketing to children, and more. There are ongoing international efforts to monitor and assess these policies, with the aim of gaining a comprehensive understanding of the global food environment. Importantly, these policy monitoring efforts also provide unique opportunities for comparative, between-country research. This session will highlight global efforts to monitor food environment policies, including the work of the International Network for Food and Obesity/ Non-communicable Diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS). The session will also explore ongoing research in Canada to support these international monitoring efforts, including a presentation of the results of the CIHR-funded 2017 Food Environment Policy Index – Canada (Food-EPI Canada) research involving food environment policy experts from across Canada.
1. To describe the state of food environment policy globally and explore novel policies that are shaping the global food environment
2. To identify international food environment policy monitoring efforts
3. To examine Canada's current food environment policy landscape and priority areas for action
Gary Sacks: Policies for healthy food environments: monitoring and accountability
Addressing obesity and improving population diets requires a comprehensive societal response, including broad-scale government action and changes to food industry policy and practice. There is expert consensus internationally on policy actions that are required to improve population nutrition and create healthier food environments. However, implementation of these policy actions has generally been poor. This presentation outlines efforts to improve accountability for obesity prevention policy action in Australia.
The first part of the presentation discusses the Food Policy Index that was developed for Australia, through the implementation of the Food-EPI (Healthy Food Environment Policy) tool developed by INFORMAS. This includes an assessment of the obesity prevention policies of the Federal government and each State in Australia, including recommendations for each jurisdiction.
The second part of the presentation discusses efforts to assess food company policies and practices in relation to obesity prevention in Australia. Food company policies were assessed using the BIA-Obesity (Business Impact Assessment - obesity and population nutrition) tool developed by INFORMAS. Results are presented for three sectors: supermarkets, food and beverage manufacturers, and quick-service restaurants. For each sector, company ratings and priority recommendations are provided.
The presentation concludes by discussing the importance of improved accountability in this area, and future directions for food policy research.
Lana Vanderlee: The food environment in Canada: Current policies and priority actions
The current food environment in Canada makes it hard for Canadians to make healthy food choices. As it is well established that policy can play a major role in influencing the food environment, this program of research sought to comprehensively characterize and evaluate Canadian food environment policy at multiple levels of government. Using the Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI), a set of internationally-developed methods to monitor food policies, food environment experts from across Canada convened in three workshops to analyze policy implementation in Canada by federal, provincial and territorial governments in a number of policy areas, including: food composition and formulation; food labelling; food promotion and marketing; food prices and taxation; food and nutrition standards; food retail and zoning; and trade and investment policy. This presentation will share results from this research process, and will characterize the implementation of food environment policies in Canada compared to some of the most promising practices that have been implemented across the globe. It will also present the priority action areas that experts identified as highly important and achievable for governments to implement that would – if implemented effectively – have the greatest impact on the food environment. Lastly, the presentation will summarize how this evidence can be used by stakeholders to support and inform policy development in Canada, and will explore how governments can coordinate their efforts to implement comprehensive food environment policies to support healthy diet. This work complements global efforts to evaluate and monitor food environments.
***Original Source: "2018 Annual Conference", Saturday, May 5, 2018
Last Updated: July 3, 2018
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