Monitoring policy and actions on food environments: rationale and outline of the INFORMAS policy engagement and communication strategies

Authors

  • H. Brinsden,

    1. International Association for the Study of Obesity, London, United Kingdom
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    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript are listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • T. Lobstein,

    Corresponding author
    1. Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    • International Association for the Study of Obesity, London, United Kingdom
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    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript are listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • J. Landon,

    1. Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    2. United Kingdom Health Forum, London, United Kingdom
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    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript are listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • V. Kraak,

    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript are listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • G. Sacks,

    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript are listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • S. Kumanyika,

    1. Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America
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    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript are listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • B. Swinburn,

    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    2. School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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    • Members of the writing group for this manuscript are listed in order of their contribution to the writing of the manuscript.
  • S. Barquera,

    1. National Institute of Public Health, Mexico City, Mexico
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  • S. Friel,

    1. National Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
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  • C. Hawkes,

    1. World Cancer Research Fund International, London, United Kingdom
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  • B. Kelly,

    1. School of Health and Society, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
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  • M. L'Abbé,

    1. Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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  • A. Lee,

    1. School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    2. School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • J. Ma,

    1. Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), Beijing, China
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  • J. Macmullen,

    1. Consumers International, London, United Kingdom
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  • S. Mohan,

    1. Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, India
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  • C. Monteiro,

    1. School of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
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  • B. Neal,

    1. The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • M. Rayner,

    1. British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
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  • D. Sanders,

    1. School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
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  • W. Snowdon,

    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    2. Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-communicable Diseases (C-POND), Suva, Fiji
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  • S. Vandevijvere,

    1. School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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  • C. Walker,

    1. Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Geneva, Switzerland
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  • INFORMAS

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    • INFORMAS is the International Network for Food and Obesity/non-communicable diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support. All authors who are not members of the writing group are listed in alphabetical order, and contributed to discussion of the key concepts and issues raised in this manuscript as part of the first formal meeting of INFORMAS from 19 to 23 November 2012.

Address for correspondence: T Lobstein, IASO, Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London WC1N 2JU, UK.

E-mail: tlobstein@iaso.org

Summary

The International Network for Food and Obesity/non-communicable diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS) proposes to collect performance indicators on food policies, actions and environments related to obesity and non-communicable diseases. This paper reviews existing communications strategies used for performance indicators and proposes the approach to be taken for INFORMAS. Twenty-seven scoring and rating tools were identified in various fields of public health including alcohol, tobacco, physical activity, infant feeding and food environments. These were compared based on the types of indicators used and how they were quantified, scoring methods, presentation and the communication and reporting strategies used. There are several implications of these analyses for INFORMAS: the ratings/benchmarking approach is very commonly used, presumably because it is an effective way to communicate progress and stimulate action, although this has not been formally evaluated; the tools used must be trustworthy, pragmatic and policy-relevant; multiple channels of communication will be needed; communications need to be tailored and targeted to decision-makers; data and methods should be freely accessible. The proposed communications strategy for INFORMAS has been built around these lessons to ensure that INFORMAS's outputs have the greatest chance of being used to improve food environments.

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