February 25, 2020 - Local food environment policies: Identifying opportunities to support healthy food choices

February 25, 2020 - Local food environment policies: Identifying opportunities to support healthy food choices

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February 25, 2020 - Local food environment policies: Identifying opportunities to support healthy food choices

Presenter: Dr. Lana Vanderlee, Assistant Professor, University of Laval

Food environments are known to have a significant influence on food choices and diet quality, with important implications for the development of obesity and non-communicable disease. A range of government policies have been identified that are known to influence the availability, affordability and marketing of healthy (and less healthy) foods, and have the ability to shift the food environment towards one that is increasingly supportive of healthier dietary choices. Local governments are often the first to implement novel and innovative food environment policies, providing an important opportunity to test the feasibility and impact of such policies.

Drawing upon international efforts to monitor and evaluate food environments globally, the Local Food-Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) tool is a framework for evaluating local food environment policies, and can be used as a starting point for communities interested in evaluating gaps and opportunities to support the development of healthy, supportive food environments.

This presentation will provide an overview of the importance of food environment policies in supporting and promoting healthy diets, drawing on examples that have been implemented across a variety of jurisdictions. The presentation will also share findings from the Local Food-EPI study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto to examine food environments in three jurisdictions in Ontario. Lastly, the presentation will explore other international efforts to support the implementation of local healthy, sustainable food environment policies that are being used by communities in Canada and elsewhere to support effective policy change, and ultimately improve dietary habits and overall health.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Which stakeholders have you worked or talked with about creating healthy local food environments?
  2. What are the policy areas that seem to be getting the most traction for food policy in local Canadian municipalities or regions?
  3. What are the opportunities for various stakeholders such as researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to support and leverage ongoing work that is already being conducted at the municipal or regional level?

Webinar Recording

Resources shared during discussion, please feel free to share more!

Few interesting examples of things happening in recreation facilities and municipalities in NFLD on this website:  http://www.recreationnl.com/eat-great-and-participate-redirect/great-things/

Pilot project in Ottawa with corners stores to sell fresh veg and fruit and good food staples.  Details here: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/gfcs.aspx

Policy readiness tool https://abpolicycoalitionforprevention.ca/portfolio-posts/policy-readiness-tool/

An introduction to the healthy corner store intervention model in Canada: https://link.springer.com/article/10.17269/CJPH.108.5801