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Planning and Public Health professionals' experiences of using the planning system to regulate hot food takeaway outlets in England: A qualitative study.

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Summerbell, Carolyn 
Cummins, Steven 


Takeaway food outlets offer limited seating and sell hot food to be consumed away from their premises. They typically serve energy-dense, nutrient-poor food. National planning guidelines in England offer the potential for local planning policies to promote healthier food environments through regulation of takeaway food outlets. Around half of English local government areas use this approach, but little is known about the process of adoption. We aimed to explore experiences and perceived success of planning policy adoption. In 2018 we recruited Planning and Public Health professionals from 16 local government areas in England and completed 26 telephone interviews. We analysed data with a thematic analysis approach. Participants felt that planning policy adoption was appropriate and can successfully regulate takeaway food outlets with the intention to improve health. They identified several facilitators and barriers towards adoption. Facilitators included internal co-operation between Planning and Public Health departments, and precedent for planning policy adoption set elsewhere. Barriers included "nanny-state" criticism, and difficulty demonstrating planning policy effectiveness. These could be considered in future guidelines to support widespread planning policy adoption.



England, Fast food, Obesity, Qualitative methods, Takeaway food outlets, Urban planning, England, Fast Foods, Humans, Local Government, Public Health, Qualitative Research

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Health Place

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Elsevier BV
Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/G007462/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/K023187/1)
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (PD-SPH-2015-10029 BH154142)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/7)
Medical Research Council (MR/K02325X/1)
The NIHR School for Public Health Research is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield; Bristol; Cambridge; Imperial; and University College London; The London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); LiLaC – a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster; and Fuse - The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, a collaboration between Newcastle, Durham, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities. This paper presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Public Health research (NIHR SPHR).The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. JA, MW and TB are funded by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Funding from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.