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Keywords:

  • Benchmarking;
  • food environments;
  • non-communicable diseases;
  • obesity prevention

Summary

This supplement presents the foundational elements for INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity/non-communicable diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support). As explained in the overview article by Swinburn and colleagues, INFORMAS has a compelling rationale and has set forth clear objectives, outcomes, principles and frameworks for monitoring and benchmarking key aspects of food environments and the policies and actions that influence the healthiness of food environments. This summary highlights the proposed monitoring approaches for the 10 interrelated INFORMAS modules: public and private sector policies and actions; key aspects of food environments (food composition, labelling, promotion, provision, retail, prices, and trade and investment) and population outcomes (diet quality). This ambitious effort should be feasible when approached in a step-wise manner, taking into account existing monitoring efforts, data sources, country contexts and capacity, and when adequately resourced. After protocol development and pilot testing of the modules, INFORMAS aims to be a sustainable, low-cost monitoring framework. Future directions relate to institutionalization, implementation and, ultimately, to leveraging INFORMAS data in ways that will bring key drivers of food environments into alignment with public health goals.