Encouraging healthier out of home food provision

A new toolkit aims to tackle the national obesity crisis.

Date: 4 April 2017

A new toolkit co-developed by Sue Bagwell from London Metropolitan University has recently launched on the Public Health England (PHE) website.

Strategies for encouraging healthier 'out of home' food provision’ is a toolkit which aims to help local authorities and businesses provide and promote healthier options for food eaten away from home. The toolkit has been created in partnership with PHE, the Children’s Food Trust, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Local Government Association.

Sue Bagwell, Research Development Manager at Cities Institute at London Met, said: “The increasing consumption of out-of-home meals has been identified as one of the key factors contributing to rising levels of obesity.

“One out of five of children eat food from out-of-home food outlets at least once a week. These meals tend to be associated with higher energy intake; higher levels of fat, sugar, and salt, and lower levels of micronutrients.

“The toolkit summarises the evidence base, types of interventions, and emerging local practice, to help those responsible within local councils think about how they might bring together a coalition of partners to improve the food environment for children and families,” she continued.

The toolkit has been developed in response to the national obesity crisis. It is estimated that two thirds of adult men, half of adult women and one third of children are obese in England. Obesity is considered one of the most serious public health challenges in the 21st century.

The foreword of the toolkit says: “Obesity is a global and national concern. Its causes are complex and it is considered one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.

“We need to support children and their families to make healthier choices and we all have a responsibility, to ensure that the healthy choice is the easy choice.”

Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services.

You can view the toolkit on the PHE website.

Sue Bagwell is a leading expert on fast food businesses and healthier catering interventions and has undertaken a number of research and consultancy studies designed to identify viable strategies that business and local authorities can adopt to improve the healthiness of the food sold in local communities.