Stakeholder and policy maker perception of key issues in food systems planning and policy making
Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition
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Research findings have suggested a vital need to understand the food environment: the pervasiveness of unhealthy food exacerbates social inequalities; malnutrition contributes to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes; and planners and policy makers have historically been absent from the food system. Little research has shown how food system actors vary in their individual understandings of these and other general truths. The lack of understanding or misunderstanding of key issues can lead to ineffective policy formulation or efforts toward solving the wrong problem.
To determine opinions on food system issues and to uncover dissonance between research and practice, a survey was administered to stakeholders from various sectors of the food system across North America. Significant differences existed regarding problems and solutions, suggesting challenges for food system actors. These varying opinions illustrate the need to conduct and disseminate empirical research on the food system to encourage evidence-based decision making.