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Philipsborn, Peter von; Geffert, Karin; Klinger, Carmen; Hebestreit, Antje; Stratil, Jan M. and Rehfuess, Eva Annette (2021): Nutrition Policies in Germany: A Systematic Assessment with the Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI). In: Public Health Nutrition: pp. 1-26

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To systematically assess Germany's nutrition policies, to benchmark them against international best practices, and to identify priority policy actions to improve population-level nutrition in Germany. DESIGN We applied the Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI), a methodological framework developed by the INFORMAS network. Qualitative content analysis of laws, directives and other documents formed the basis of a multi-staged, structured consultation process. SETTING Germany. PARTICIPANTS The expert consultation process included 55 experts from academia, public administration, and civil society. RESULTS Germany lags behind international best practices in several key policy areas. For 18 policy indicators, the degree of implementation compared to international best practices was rated as very low, for 21 as low, for 8 as intermediate, and for none as high. In particular, indicators on food taxation, regulation of food marketing, and retail and food service sector policies were rated as very low to low. Identified priority actions included the binding implementation of nutrition standards for schools and kindergartens, a reform of the value added tax on foods and beverages, a sugar-sweetened beverage tax and stricter regulation of food marketing directed at children. CONCLUSIONS The results show that Germany makes insufficient use of the potential of evidence-informed health-promoting nutrition policies. Adopting international best practices in key policy areas could help to reduce the burden of nutrition-related chronic disease and related inequalities in nutrition and health in Germany. Implementation of relevant policies requires political leadership, a broad societal dialogue, and evidence-informed advocacy by civil society, including the scientific community.

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