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Arlington, VA, United States

The food environment in markets constrains and signals consumers what to purchase. It encompasses availability, affordability, convenience, and desirability of various foods. The effect of income on dietary consumption is always modified by the food environment. Many agricultural interventions aim to improve incomes, increase food availability and reduce food prices. Their effects on nutrition could be better understood if food environment measures helped to explain how additional income is likely to be spent, and how food availability and prices change as a result of large-scale interventions. Additionally, measurement of the food environment could elucidate food access gaps and inform the design of nutrition-sensitive interventions. This paper reviews existing measures of the food environment, and then draws from these tools to suggest ways the food environment could be measured in future studies and monitoring. © 2015, The Author(s). Source

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