PHE publish evidence of impact of improving access to healthy food

26 September 2017

In this encouraging study, PHE publish evidence of the impact that planning for:

  • ‘increasing access to healthier food for the general population’
  • ‘decrease exposure to unhealthy food environments’,
  • ‘increased access to healthier food in schools’,
  • ‘access to retail outlets selling healthier food’,
  • ‘urban food growing’,
  • ‘provision of and access to allotment and garden space’ 

have on key public health outcomes.

These include:

  • maintenance of healthier weight,
  • reduced risk of CVD, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers,
  • nutrition related outcomes among children and adolescents,
  • BMI among children and adolescents
  • mental health and wellbeing


PHE include a case study of Tower Hamlet's local Public Health department who commissioned the Women’s Environmental Network to set up 15 community gardens across the Borough to help improve residents wellbeing by providing access to healthier food and creating community cohesion.

Residents took part in food growing, and training sessions on garden design, growing, healthy eating and cooking. The 15 month project was delivered with a budget of £120,000.

Main outcomes included an improvement in wellbeing for over half of participants (where data was available). It provided access to local food encouraging healthy eating and helped build social capital.

Read the study (pp30-37)


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation 

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