A typology of food environments in the pacific region and their relationship to diet quality in solomon islands

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Extensive literature describes the importance of food environments (FEs) as a driver of food choices and nutrition outcomes; yet existing FE frameworks do not adequately capture the diversity of FEs relevant to the Pacific Region. This limits identification of opportunities in food systems to reduce the multiple burden of malnutrition. We present a conceptual typology of FEs including six primary FEs relevant in the Pacific; wild; cultivated; kin and community; informal retail; formal retail; and food aid and services. We then apply this typology to food acquisition data from Solomon Islands 2012/13 Household Income and Expenditure Survey and analyse the relationship between FEs and diet quality. The cultivated FE accounts for 60% of the quantity of food acquired nationally, followed by wild (15%), kin and community (9%), and formal and informal retail FEs (8% each), with wide variation between urban and rural households, provinces and wealth groups. Reliance on different FEs is a significant predictor of diet quality and affirms the importance of subsistence fisheries and agriculture, and community and kinship networks. Integration of a FE typology such as the one presented here in commonly conducted household expenditure surveys offers significant opportunity to advance our understanding of food system leverage points to improve nutrition and health.

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation



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