Creating Healthy Food and Eating Environments: Policy and Environmental Approaches

This article reviews the literature on food environments and conditions that influence food choices.

What researchers found: This article reviews the research literature on how the environment (including schools, childcare and the home) influences food choices. Strategies to reduce obesity need to incorporate those environmental changes that support healthy eating. Strategies also are outlined to increase access to healthy food in low-income communities, including government agriculture policies supporting healthy fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops; food stamp policies allowing for healthier food to be purchased; and other large-scale changes such as limiting food marketing of unhealthy foods to children. 

Why we chose this publication: This review suggests that improvements in neighborhoods, homes, and institutional environments are essential to support individual behavior change and reduce obesity levels. Policy and environmental approaches should strive to promote equitable access to and the affordability of healthy food choices for all types of individuals regardless of race, income or geographic location.

What researchers studied: The authors review the research literature on settings and places for healthy eating, as well as macro approaches to influence healthy eating.