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Measuring rural food environments for local action in Australia: a systematic critical synthesis review

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posted on 2019-07-01, 00:00 authored by Penny LovePenny Love, Jill WhelanJill Whelan, Colin BellColin Bell, J McCracken
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Poor diet is a significant contributor to obesity and chronic disease. With all being more prevalent in rural than urban Australia, modifying the food environment is a potential intervention point to improve the health of rural populations. This review examined the applicability of measurement tools used in rural food environment research for rural Australia. Six electronic databases were searched for peer-reviewed literature, published in English between 2006 and 2018, including at least one objective measure of the Community or Consumer Food Environment in a rural or mixed rural/urban context. One-hundred and seventy-seven papers were returned after removal of duplicates, with a final review of 25. Most studies were cross-sectional, with one intervention study of quasi-experimental design. Nine studies employed a conceptual model; there was considerable variability in tools used; and few described psychometric testing. The most common attribute measured was price, followed by available healthy options. The findings of this review do not offer a suite of ‘gold standard’ measurement tools known to be reliable, valid and sensitive to change to assess the community or consumer food environments in rural Australian towns. However, recommendations are proposed to progress this important area of research within a rural context.

History

Journal

International journal of environmental research and public health

Volume

16

Issue

13

Article number

2416

Publisher

MDPI

Location

Basel, Switzerland

ISSN

1661-7827

eISSN

1660-4601

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, The Authors