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Neighbourhood food environments: food choice, foodscapes and planning for health

  • Amelia A Lake (a1) (a2)

The burden of obesity contributes to increasing health inequality, and placing healthcare systems under huge strain. The modern society could broadly be described to support unhealthful eating patterns and sedentary behaviour; also described as obesogenic. Obesity prevention and treatment has focused on educational and behavioural interventions, with limited overall success. A sustainable approach is to address the environments that promote less healthy eating and high energy intake as well as sedentary behaviour. Approaches which modify the environment have the potential to assist in the prevention of this complex condition. The present paper focuses on food environments within the context of obesogenic environments. Takeaway and fast food, a fixture of our diet, is usually nutrient poor and energy dense. A ‘concentration effect’ has been observed, where there is a clustering of fast food and takeaway outlets in more deprived areas. Access to food and intake are associated; however, there are methodological challenges in associating the effect of the food environment on obesity. While there is an imperfect evidence base relating to the role of the food environment in terms of the obesity crisis; policy, practice, civic society and industry must work together and take action now, where current evidence suggests a change. Shaping the environment to better support healthful eating decisions has the potential to be a key aspect of a successful obesity prevention intervention.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Amelia A Lake, email
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