Associations between governmental policies to improve the nutritional quality of supermarket purchases and individual, retailer, and community health outcomes: An integrative review

Alyssa J. Moran, Yuxuan Gu, Sasha Clynes, Attia Goheer, Christina A. Roberto, Anne Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Supermarkets are natural and important settings for implementing environmental interventions to improve healthy eating, and governmental policies could help improve the nutritional quality of purchases in this setting. This review aimed to: (1) identify governmental policies in the United States (U.S.), including regulatory and legislative actions of federal, tribal, state, and local governments, designed to promote healthy choices in supermarkets; and (2) synthesize evidence of these policies’ effects on retailers, consumers, and community health. We searched five policy databases and developed a list of seven policy actions that meet our inclusion criteria: calorie labeling of prepared foods in supermarkets; increasing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits; financial incentives for the purchase of fruit and vegetables; sweetened beverage taxes; revisions to the USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package; financial assistance for supermarkets to open in underserved areas; and allowing online purchases with SNAP. We searched PubMed, Econlit, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Business Source Ultimate to identify peer-reviewed, academic, English-language literature published at any time until January 2020; 147 studies were included in the review. Sweetened beverage taxes, revisions to the WIC food package, and financial incentives for fruits and vegetables were associated with improvements in dietary behaviors (food purchases and/or consumption). Providing financial incentives to supermarkets to open in underserved areas and increases in SNAP benefits were not associated with changes in food purchasing or diet quality but may improve food security. More research is needed to understand the effects of calorie labeling in supermarkets and online SNAP purchasing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7493
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume17
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2020

Keywords

  • Beverage tax
  • Federal nutrition assistance programs
  • Financial incentives
  • Food and beverage
  • Food purchase
  • Grocery
  • Health disparities
  • Menu labeling
  • Policy
  • Retail food environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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