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The current study aimed to evaluate policies and actions for food environments by the Japanese Government using the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI).
Public health experts rated the extent of implementation of food environment-related Policy and the Infrastructure-support components, compared with international best practices. Subsequently, the experts proposed and prioritised future actions to address implementation gaps in an online workshop.
A total of sixty-six experts rated policy implementation by the Japanese Government and twenty-three participated in the workshop on future actions.
The implementations of regulations on unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages were rated low in the domains of Food composition, Food labelling and Food promotion, Food prices and Food retail in the Policy component. The implementations of several domains in the Infrastructure-support component were, overall, rated at a higher level, specifically for monitoring and intelligence systems. Based on the rating, reducing health inequalities by supporting people, both economically and physically, was the highest priority for future actions in both components.
The current study found that Japan has a robust system for long-term monitoring of population health but lacks regulations on unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages compared with international best practices. The current study confirmed the importance of continuous accumulation of evidence through national monitoring systems. Developing comprehensive regulations to restrict food marketing, sales and accessibility of unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages is needed to improve the health of food environments in Japan.
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