TABLE 3-1 Examples of Environmental Influences on Food Intake, by Type of Environment

Size or Level of the Environment

Type of Environment: Food-Related Influences





Microenvironments (e.g., behavioral settings such as homes, schools, and communities)

  • Location and type of food stores

  • Vending machine placement and products

  • Point-of-purchase information

  • Local food production

  • Locally imposed taxes

  • Vendor pricing policies

  • Financial support for health promotion programs

  • Sponsorship of healthful food policies and practices

  • Family rules related to food purchasing and consumption

  • Food policies of local schools or school districts

  • “Ethos” or climate related to food and eating in the home, school, and neighborhood

  • Role models for eating behaviors at home, in school, and in community settings (e.g., churches)

Macroenvironments (e.g., societal sectorssuch as food and agriculture,education, medical, government,public health, or health care)

  • Food production/ importing

  • Food manufacturing

  • Food marketing

  • Federal nutrition labeling guidelines

  • Costs of food production, manufacturing, and distribution

  • Taxes, pricing policies, subsidies

  • Wage structure and other factors that influence personal and household income

  • National food and nutrition policies, regulations, and laws, including food labeling

  • Food industry standards and practices

  • Regulations and guidelines on advertising to children

  • Mass media influences on food selections and eating behaviors

  • General consumer trends in food and eating

SOURCE: Adapted from Swinburn et al., 1999.

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