Abstract for: Modelling the urban neighbourhood food retail environment for policy analysis and intervention.
Inequalities in exposure to a health-promoting local food environment has been implicated in the generation and maintenance of inequalities in diet-related behaviours and outcomes, including obesity and diabetes. Increasingly, poor diet and diet-related disease has been characterised as an emergent property of a complex system and, as such, the drivers of poor diet may be better understood by using a complex system perspective. However, as the generation of empirical evidence on the system drivers of poor diet is challenging, approaches such as systems modelling have been proposed to better characterise and understand these dynamic processes. In this article, Group Model Building delivered online with stakeholders, was used to funnel existing knowledge and evidence on food environments in order to build a conceptual model of the food retail environment inclusive of the drivers that influence the decision to purchase meals that are high in fat, salt, sugar and calories. The GMB was organised as a knowledge elicitation process that involved a questionnaire, a workbook, and a structured workshop. The GMB generated a comprehensive Causal Loop Diagram of the retail environment inclusive of the drivers that influence the decision to purchase meals that are high in fat, salt, sugar, and calories.