Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 95
Objective: Differences in population-level dietary intake have been observed between Canada and the US. To shed light on the extent to which such differences may relate to variations in food policies, we undertook a comparative analysis of key policies that could be expected to impact intake of nutrients and/or food groups of concern.
Methods: We leveraged a comprehensive policy scan, conducted as part of the Canadian arm of the International Network for Food and Obesity/NCD Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS), using the Healthy Food Environments Policy Index (Food-EPI). Policies related to food composition, retail, labelling, promotion, prices, school food provision, and trade are considered within Food-EPI. A comprehensive search of policy and budget documents was conducted, with subsequent validation with key stakeholders. A comparable search to characterize policies within domains hypothesized to impact dietary intake was conducted for the US, drawing upon government websites and published and grey literature.
Results: Policy variations between the two countries with the potential to drive differences in intake related primarily to food composition, fortification, and food-related income supports, subsidies, and programs (e.g., school food programs). For example, due to a federal sodium reduction strategy in Canada versus the US, it is hypothesized that reformulation will occur more rapidly in Canada, potentially leading to lower sodium intake in that population.
Conclusions: Although Canada and the US are subject to many common influences (e.g., marketing) and share important trading relationships, variations in food policies exist. Studying these variations in concert with population-level dietary intake data can improve our understanding of how policy interventions can support healthy eating patterns and reduced chronic disease risk.
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada