Helping local planners to promote healthy food environments

Max burger
Credit: Christian Kadluba/Flickr

University of Cambridge research has established the role of takeaway fast food outlets in poor health and inequalities in health, particularly linked to obesity.

Globally, around two billion adults and 340 million children are overweight or obese according to the World Health Organization. In the UK, 35 million adults and three million children are affected by obesity, and the prevalence of obesity is twice as high in the most deprived areas as in the least deprived areas (NHS Digital statistics).

Influencing the UK government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, the Chief Medical Officer’s special report, Public Health England policy and the World Health Organization, the research has identified the significance of local planning decisions in reducing exposure to takeaways.

It has given local decision-makers a valuable tool – the Food environment assessment tool (Feat) – to use local data to make planning decisions that are attentive to health consequences, helping to promote healthier food environments, better health and reduced inequalities. A bespoke version of the Feat tool is under development in Canada.