Effective government policies are essential to increase the healthiness of food environments and to reduce obesity, chronic diseases and their related inequalities.
Food environments are defined as the collective physical, economic, policy and socio-cultural surroundings, opportunities and conditions that influence people’s food and beverage choices and nutritional status. Unhealthy food environments lead to unhealthy diets and excess energy intake which have consequences in levels of morbidity and mortality. It is critical that Governments implement preventive policies and actions to match the magnitude of the burden that unhealthy diets are creating. Monitoring the level of implementation of the policies and actions recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is an important part of ensuring progress towards better nutritional health. The International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS) developed a Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food‐EPI) in 2013 to assess the extent of implementation of recommended food environment policies by national governments compared with international best practices and to derive concrete priority actions to fill implementation gaps identified. In the meantime the Food-EPI has been implemented in about 15 countries internationally.
The research team
The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) process in Europe is conducted by researchers within the Horizon 2020 Science and Technology in Childhood Obesity Prevention (STOP) project and the Joint Programming Initiatives Policy Evaluation Network. The implementation of the Food-EPI in Europe is supported by INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support), a global network of public-interest organisations and researchers that seeks to monitor and benchmark public and private sector actions to create healthy food environments and reduce obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) globally. INFORMAS is coordinated by the University of Auckland.
The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food‐EPI) includes two components (“policies” and “infrastructure support”), 13 domains and 47 good practice indicators. The Food-EPI has been developed based on recommendations from high‐level reports on improving population nutrition and consultations with international food policy experts. Good practice indicators will be tailored for the purposes of this project to the European context as the different levels of jurisdictions for different policy domains (i.e. national, European) need to be taken into account.
The Food‐EPI process at the country level involves the rating by national expert panels, including public health and nutrition experts, and representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and medical associations, of the extent of implementation of food environment policies by their governments compared with international best practices. Experts' ratings are informed by comprehensive evidence of implementation for each indicator, verified by government officials and international best practice exemplars (benchmarks). Based on implementation gaps identified, experts propose concrete actions for implementation by their government and prioritize those according to importance and achievability criteria.
Collect relevant documents
Evidence-ground the policies and actions
Validate evidence with government officials
Rate government policies and actions
Identify and prioritize concrete actions
Qualify, comment and recommend
Translate results for government and stakeholders
|Country||Key contacts||Institution||Project link|
|Ireland||Janas Harrington||University College Corkemail@example.com||PEN|
|Poland||Joanna Zukowska||Gdansk University of Technologyfirstname.lastname@example.org||PEN|
|Germany||Peter Von Philipsborn||Ludwig Maximilians Universitätemail@example.com||PEN|
|The Netherlands||Maartje Poelman||University of Utrecht||M.P.Poelman@uu.nl||PEN|
|Norway||Liv Elin Torheim||Oslo Metropolitan Universityfirstname.lastname@example.org||PEN|
|Slovenia||Mojca Gabrijelcic Ingrid Sotlar||National Institute of Public Health||Mojca.Gabrijelcic@nijz.si Ingrid.Sotlar@nijz.si||STOP|
|Italy||Marco Silano Drieda Zace||Istituto Superiore di Sanitàemail@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org||STOP|
|Spain||Marc Saez||Universitat de Girona, Spainemail@example.com||STOP|
|Estonia||Eha Nurk Anu Aspollu||National Institute for Health Developmentfirstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com||STOP|
|Portugal||Miguel Arriaga Andreia Silva Benvinda dos Santos Maria João Gregório Rita Horgan Nicole Chavesfirstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com||STOP|
|Finland||Tiina Laatikainen Päivi Mäki||National Institute for Health and Welfarefirstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com||STOP|
|INFORMAS Food-EPI international module leader||Dr Stefanie Vandevijvere||University of Auckland Scientific Institute of Public Health Brusselsfirstname.lastname@example.org Stefanie.email@example.com||STOP PEN INFORMAS|
- World Obesity Day 2022: Everybody Needs to Act to address the root causes of childhood obesity March 2, 2022Obesity in children has been a cause of concern for decades, but with the effects of the pandemic exacerbating the issue, it has now become a serious public health crisis. The STOP Project, 24 organisations, […]
- Assessing food companies’ commitments and practices on food environments and population nutrition in France February 24, 2022We have long been aware of the link between food environments and risk of overweight and obesity, something which has been exacerbated in recent months by COVID-19. By 2030, obesity is expected to affect over […]
- An interview with Professor Mojca Gabrijelčič Blenkuš November 16, 2021In a recent interview, we talked with Prof Mojca Gabrijelčič Blenkuš, a medical doctor and public health specialist. Prof Gabrijelčič is a member of the STOP consortium and coordinator of the Joint Action Best Practices […]
- PEN workshop on quantifying the impact of food and lifestyle policies November 15, 2021The second and final workshop of Work Package 3 (WP3) within the Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) project took place at the University of Bologna on 6-8 September 2021, under the title “Quantifying the impact of […]
- Policy Laboratory – Building momentum and collective action to address obesity in Europe November 15, 2021Over the past three years, World Obesity has compiled a series of policy dossiers to provide a summary of evidence and resources to help policymakers, NGOs, and others when seeking to implement obesity-related policies in […]
- Towards a childhood free from unhealth food marketing: Exploring the next frontier for European action November 15, 2021The evidence is clear: unhealthy food marketing affects what children eat, and ultimately, their health and well-being. An event convened by the European Public Health Alliance on 9th November, moderated by STOP consortium member Nikolai […]
- STOP Project featured in Barilla Foundation’s latest publication November 15, 2021In May 2021, the STOP Project was featured in Barilla Foundation’s latest publication Europe and Food. Ensuring environmental, health and social benefits for the global transition. The report is focused on assessing food systems across […]
- From Science to Policy Implementation: a joint conference between STOP & JA Best-ReMaP November 15, 2021In parallel with the Slovenia presidency 2021, this 17th-18th November, a high-level event on food policy being co-organised by the STOP project with our partner project Joint Action Best Practices in Nutrition (JA Best-ReMaP). The conference will support the […]
- Paediatric teams in front of childhood obesity: A qualitative study within the STOP project November 15, 2021In the Balearic Islands, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is 14.7% and 10.4% prospectively. A new study published in the framework of the STOP project assessed the attitudes and feelings of Spanish paediatric staff […]
- Childhood obesity – what are the root causes of the growing pandemic? November 15, 2021Today, childhood obesity numbers are nearly doubling every 10 years and it is estimated that 158 million children aged 5-19 years are living with obesity globally; a number projected to reach 254 million in 2030. People […]