Why this is important
American studies linking neighbourhood food environments and dietary behaviour have found:
- residents increased fruit and vegetable intake by an average of 32 per cent for each supermarket in their census area
- low fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to the poor range of these items in the nearest neighbourhood supermarkets. (1)
There are a number of policy strategies that councils can adopt that enhance the ability to access healthy foods.
- Establish a body of local evidence to support policy and planning positions, such as an accessibility index (see assessing food accessibility) – the ability of different household scenarios to afford healthy food based on income and other elements, accessibility to supermarkets selling an appropriate and affordable range of healthy foods, and the density and location of fast food restaurants in relation to household income
- Review and amend corporate policy, planning scheme policy and operational activities, taking into consideration the results of data collection and evidence.
- Mikkelsen, L., Chehimi, S., Cohen, L. 2007, Healthy Eating & Physical Activity: Addressing Inequities in Urban Environments, The Prevention Institute, Oakland, California.[Online] Available at: www.preventioninstitute.org/sa/pdf/RWJNC.pdf