Policy Factsheet

Point of Purchase Nutrition Strategies

Reasons for Policy

  • Obesity is associated with increased risk for many common chronic diseases.1
  • Prevalence of childhood obesity has risen sharply in the past three decades, and is closely associated with poor dietary choices.2
  • Environmental interventions are a promising tool for shifting US dietary patterns.3

Community Groups

  • Community Colleges
  • Local Businesses
  • Local School Board
  • Universities

Policy Components

  • Increased availability of healthy foods
  • Nutritional content labels and signs
  • Pricing and/or rebates encouraging purchase of healthy foods

Desired Outcomes

  • Increased purchase and consumption of healthier foods

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 2: Policies with Consistent Evidence from High-Quality Observational Studies.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

The following summary of achievable results is based on a published review of the scientific evidence.

  • Point of purchase nutritional information may be associated with positive changes in sales of targeted food and dietary patterns within workplace and university settings. Evidence for other settings, including grocery stores and restaurants, is limited.3
  • Increased availability of health food choices may be associated with increases in sales of healthy foods/snacks.3
  • Incentives (decreased price/rebates) combined with information strategies may be associated with increased sales of targeted items.3

More research is needed to understand the impact of point of purchase nutrition strategies.

Community Examples

Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Baltimore City Health Department work in partnership to lead the Baltimore Healthy Stores project.

City of Baltimore announced recommendations to increase demand and access to healthy food options.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, City Council approved The Healthy Corner Store Program to increase access to healthy foods.

Links to Policy Examples

Baltimore, Maryland; Baltimore City Charter, and Baltimore City Health Code

Minneapolis, Minnesota; Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 10, Chapter 203 Grocery Stores and Specialty Food Store.

† Be sure to check with your state, county, and municipal governments regarding potential existing laws that may impede any new policy development.

References

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Health Consequences of Obesity. Retrieved July 15, 2010 from: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/causes/health.html

2 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2009). F as in fat: How obesity policies are failing in America. Trust for America’s Health, Issue Report. Retrieved July 15, 2010 from: www.healthyamericans.org/reports/obesity2010

3 Seymour, JD, Yaroch, AL, Serdula, M, Blanck, HM & Khan, LK (2004). Impact of nutrition environmental interventions on point-of-purchase behavior in adults: a review. Preventive Medicine, 39, S108-S136.

4 Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.