Food Policy & Environment

Over the past 15 years there has been tremendous acceptance of the idea that we need to address obesity through public health and public policy approaches to improve the environment and influence the health of a population. The idea of taxing foods at a rate large enough to make a difference in consumption has transitioned from a radical idea that no one thought was feasible to a mainstream concept that has now been considered seriously in many states and cities around the country. This transition is due to a combination of scientific evidence, advocacy, and lobbying. Another advancement in the field is the expansion of local food policy councils, which are an important way to bring community members together with local government to promote the social, economic, and environmental health of local and regional food systems. Prior to 2000, there were less than 20 active Councils in the United States. As of 2018, there are over 300.

Public food policy offers the potential to reach the entire population of a city, state, or nation in ways that might help reduce the rates, progression, and economic and health impacts of obesity. Research to carefully evaluate the impact of food policy and the processes by which they succeed or fail is an important need in the field.

This fact sheet includes tips and resources for Connecticut researchers looking to engage in food policy efforts.

This fact sheet contains information on testifying at a CT public hearing.

RIDGE Partnership

To address national objectives for improved food security and dietary quality, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supports useful extramural research in economics aimed at understanding and enhancing the nation’s nutrition assistance programs.

The USDA Economic Research Service, in collaboration with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, invited applications from university-based institutions for a competitive cooperative agreement award to establish a RIDGE Partnership for Food and Nutrition Assistance Research in 2022.

The new RIDGE partnership was awarded to Tufts University, the University of Connecticut (UConn), and the University of Missouri on September 16, 2022.

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