Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine a case study for increasing supply of, and demand for, healthier food in the metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, West Midlands, UK. Sandwell has a declining and ageing population. Levels of cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity are all high. These diseases should not just be regarded as medical problems with medical solutions. By considering both the built environment and the population's health the paper aims to demonstrate how local action is driving strategic food policy. Design/methodology/approach – Food mapping and children's food/obesity prevalence research provided the evidence base for a locally appropriate approach. From ongoing work generated by this evidence base, Sandwell's food policy has been developed to provide a focus and framework for action. This strategic approach has led to the development of neighbourhood renewal funded work “Eatwell in Sandwell”. Findings – By working in partnership with the private sector, i.e. retail businesses and specialist consultants, it is shown that bridges can be built between public health and the private sector to the benefit of both. For some people living in neighbourhoods with poor or non‐existent fresh produce provision, the Eatwell shops have brought about the regeneration of not just the shops, but also of the shopping habits that were previously difficult or impossible. It is suggested that food must regain its centrality to people's daily lives, not only to improve health, but also to ensure sustainable communities for the next generation. Originality/value – This paper is a useful source for researchers/students with interests in the topics of food poverty, public health and food retail access
International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 22, 2007
Keywords: Food products; Diet; Public health; Retailing; Poverty; United Kingdom
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