Level of implementation of best practice policies for creating healthy food environments: assessment by state and non-state actors in Thailand
journal contributionposted on 2017-02-01, 00:00 authored by Sirinya Phulkerd, S Vandevijvere, Mark LawrenceMark Lawrence, V Tangcharoensathien, Gary SacksGary Sacks
OBJECTIVE: To determine and compare the level of implementation of policies for healthy food environments in Thailand with reference to international best practice by state and non-state actors. DESIGN: Data on the current level of implementation of food environment policies were assessed independently using the adapted Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) by two groups of actors. Concrete actions were proposed for Thai Government. A joint meeting between both groups was subsequently held to reach consensus on priority actions. SETTING: Thailand. SUBJECTS: Thirty state actors and twenty-seven non-state actors. RESULTS: Level of policy implementation varied across different domains and actor groups. State actors rated implementation levels higher than non-state actors. Both state and non-state actors rated level of implementation of monitoring of BMI highest. Level of implementation of policies promoting in-store availability of healthy foods and policies increasing tax on unhealthy foods were rated lowest by state and non-state actors, respectively. Both groups reached consensus on eleven priority actions for implementation, focusing on food provision in public-sector settings, food composition, food promotion, leadership, monitoring and intelligence, and food trade. CONCLUSIONS: Although the implementation gaps identified and priority actions proposed varied between state and non-state actors, both groups achieved consensus on a comprehensive food policy package to be implemented by the Thai Government to improve the healthiness of food environments. This consensus is a platform for continued policy dialogue towards cross-sectoral policy coherence and effective actions to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases and obesity in Thailand.