Advancing healthy and sustainable food environments: The Flathead Reservation case study

UNSCN Nutr. 2019 Oct 7;44:38-45.


This case study describes a methodological approach to evaluating and improving food environments in an indigenous community in the United States of America. A community-research partnership was developed to support healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Our team implemented complementary methodologies to evaluate multiple dimensions of the food environment, including food availability, convenience, affordability and desirability. Our findings were used to design and implement multiphase food-environment interventions that elucidated the following: (1) food-environment measurements should be multifaceted and context-specific; (2) food desirability, including sensory attributes, diversity and phytonutrient quality, are important but overlooked aspects of the food environment; (3) successful food-environment interventions are community-based and incremental; (4) food-environment interventions should seek to forge links with existing institutional structures to influence policy; and (5) findings from food-environment interventions should be disseminated in various ways to diverse stakeholders.