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Assessment of evaluations made to healthy eating policies in Europe: a review within the EATWELL Project

  • Federico JA Pérez-Cueto (a1), Jessica Aschemann-Witzel (a2), Bhavani Shankar (a3) (a4), José Brambila-Macias (a3), Tino Bech-Larsen (a2), Mario Mazzocchi (a5), Sara Capacci (a5), Anna Saba (a6), Aida Turrini (a6), Barbara Niedzwiedzka (a7), Beata Piorecka (a7), Agniezska Kozioł-Kozakowska (a7), Josephine Wills (a8), W Bruce Traill (a3) and Wim Verbeke (a1)...
Abstract
Objective

To identify and assess healthy eating policies at national level which have been evaluated in terms of their impact on awareness of healthy eating, food consumption, health outcome or cost/benefit.

Design

Review of policy documents and their evaluations when available.

Setting

European Member States.

Subjects

One hundred and twenty-one policy documents revised, 107 retained.

Results

Of the 107 selected interventions, twenty-two had been evaluated for their impact on awareness or knowledge and twenty-seven for their impact on consumption. Furthermore sixteen interventions provided an evaluation of health impact, while three actions specifically measured any cost/benefit ratio. The indicators used in these evaluations were in most cases not comparable. Evaluation was more often found for public information campaigns, regulation of meals at schools/canteens and nutrition education programmes.

Conclusions

The study highlights the need not only to develop harmonized and verifiable procedures but also indicators for measuring effectiveness and success and for comparing between interventions and countries. EU policies are recommended to provide a set of indicators that may be measured consistently and regularly in all countries. Furthermore, public information campaigns should be accompanied by other interventions, as evaluations may show an impact on awareness and intention, but rarely on consumption patterns and health outcome.

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*Corresponding author: Email aperezcueto@gmail.com
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Perez-Cueto Supplementary Material
List of Policy interventions by country

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