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

Hannah Brinsden, Tim Lobstein, Jane Landon, Vivica Kraak, Gary Sacks, Shiriki Kumanyika, Boyd Swinburn, Simon Barquera, Sharon Friel, Corinna Hawkes, Bridget Kelly, Mary L'Abbe, Andy Lee, Jia Qi Ma, J MacMullen, Sailesh Mohan, Carlos Monteiro, Bruce Neal, Mike Rayner, David SandersWendy Snowdon, Stefanie Vandevijvere, Celeste Walker

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-23
    Number of pages11
    JournalObesity Reviews
    Issue numbers1
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


    • Communications strategy
    • Food environments
    • Monitoring


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