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Altering the availability of products within physical micro-environments: a conceptual framework.

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Hollands, Gareth J 
Carter, Patrice 
Marteau, Theresa M 


Altering the availability of products (e.g. food, alcohol or tobacco products) is one potential intervention to change behaviours to help reduce preventable premature deaths worldwide. However, research on these interventions lacks consistent conceptualisation, hindering clear reporting and cumulative synthesis. This paper proposes a conceptual framework - categorising intervention types and summarising constituent components - with which interventions can be reliably described and evidence synthesised. Three principal distinctions are proposed: interventions altering: (i) Absolute Availability (changing the overall number of options, while keeping the proportions comprised by any subsets of options constant); (ii) Relative Availability (changing the proportion comprised by a subset of options, yet keeping the overall number of options constant); (iii) Absolute and Relative Availability (changing both the overall number of options and the proportions comprised by subsets of options). These are subdivided into those targeting (a) a product or (b) a category of products. Mechanisms that might underlie each of these intervention types are discussed, and implications for future research highlighted. The proposed framework aims to facilitate study of a set of interventions that could contribute significantly to healthier behaviour across populations.



Availability, Conceptual framework, Health-related behaviour, Intervention, Alcoholic Beverages, Environment, Food Supply, Health Behavior, Humans, Tobacco Products

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BMC Public Health

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


All rights reserved
Department of Health (PRP number 107001)
Wellcome Trust (106679/Z/14/Z)
The Behaviour and Health Research Unit is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Policy Research Programme (Policy Research Unit in Behaviour and Health [PR-UN-0409-10109]. RP is supported by a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship in Society and Ethics [106679/Z/14/Z]. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis, or interpretation. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research, the Department of Health and Social Care or its arm's length bodies, and other Government Departments.