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Examining the role of retailers in obesogenic food environments and identifying policy opportunities to address double burden of malnutrition

Southeast Asia is in an economic and demographic transition whereby increasing income is not accompanied by improved nutrition. There is limited information on the underlying drivers of healthy and unhealthy food consumption, particularly the contributions of the retail food supply. Complicating action on the double burden of malnutrition is the fact that policies influencing the consumer food environment are largely developed outside the health sector, in ministries of agriculture, trade, commerce, and finance. There is also continued policy focus on improving access to calories instead of improving the nutritional quality of diets.

This project seeks to understand food retail environments and how they affect the availability of healthy and unhealthy food in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand. This, in concert with a better understanding of the policy and political context across multiple sectors, is necessary to address the growing burden of obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases. The project will map the food retail landscape in each country, taking consumer and retailer perspectives into account, to understand the availability of healthy and unhealthy foods. It will identify opportunities for strengthening the governance of food retail environments, increasing consumption of healthy foods, and developing a multi-country learning network of researchers working on urban food environments using a range of food policy research methods.

Project ID
Project Status
48 months
IDRC Officer
Madiha Ahmed
Total Funding
CA$ 739,100.00
Institution Country
Project Leader
Poh Koon
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

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