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Evidence-informed process to identify policies that will promote a healthy food environment in the Pacific Islands

  • Wendy Snowdon (a1), Mark Lawrence (a1), Jimaima Schultz (a2), Paula Vivili (a3) and Boyd Swinburn (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S136898001000011X
  • Published online: 03 March 2010
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To implement a systematic evidence-informed process to enable Fiji and Tonga to identify the most feasible and targeted policy interventions which would have most impact on diet-related non-communicable diseases.

Design

A multisectoral stakeholder group of policy advisers was formed in each country. They used participatory approaches to identify the problem policies and gaps contributing to an unhealthy food environment. Potential solutions to these problems were then identified, and were assessed by them for feasibility, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and side-effects. Data were gathered on the food and policy environment to support the assessments. A shortlist of preferred policy interventions for action was then developed.

Results

Sixty to eighty policy problems were identified in each country, affecting areas such as trade, agriculture, fisheries and pricing. Up to 100 specific potential policy solutions were then developed in each country. Assessment of the policies highlighted relevant problem areas including poor feasibility, limited effectiveness or cost-effectiveness and serious side-effects. A shortlist of twenty to twenty-three preferred new policy options for action in each country was identified.

Conclusions

Policy environments in these two countries were not conducive to supporting healthy eating. Substantial areas of potential action are possible, but some represent better choices. It is important for countries to consider the impact of non-health policies on diets.

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*Corresponding author: Email wendy.snowdon@deakin.edu.au
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4.B Smith , P Phongsavan , D Havea (2007) Body mass index, physical activity and dietary behaviours among adolescents in the Kingdom of Tonga. Public Health Nutr 10, 137144.

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16.W Snowdon , J Schultz & B Swinburn (2008) Problem and solution trees: a practical approach for identifying potential interventions to improve population nutrition. Health Promot Int 23, 345353.

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20.MG Marmot (2004) Evidence based policy or policy based evidence? BMJ 328, 906907.

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Public Health Nutrition
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